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Lord of the Ringworm!

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"No good deed goes unpunished" - Those were the words my dear sweet hubby said to me when we found out that our latest addition (Heinie) had a raging case of ringworm.
Ringworm is NOT a worm! it is a fungal infection similar to athlete's foot or jock itch. It is an infection that can be spread "inter-specially" (if that is a word).

Here's how it started for us. Me, being the crazy cat lady of the family, was contacted by my older sister about 4 kittens that she had (she didn't get mama spayed soon enough) and whether I could find a no-kill shelter that would take them. Since we are at the height of kitten season, this was a difficult task! After talking to about 3 rescue groups I was finally able to get them in on a Monday morning. My sister lives about 1 & 1/2 hours from me, so this meant that I had to pick up the kittens on Saturday and keep them in my guest bathroom until Monday morning. I did know enough to keep them away from my 3 cats. Unfortunately for us, ringworm can spread even after the "host" has left the building!

On Wednesday I got an email from the Rescue lady telling me that ALL of the kittens had ringworm, so I should keep an eye on myself for any round lesions. No problem. About 2 weeks later I am looking at my 3 month old kitten, Heinie, and I see a round bald patch on his left ear.... hmmmm. that looks like ringworm. He was scheduled to get his rabies shot that week so I waited to get the vet's opinion... yes and there is also now another spot that is even bigger! She gives me an anti-fungal that I have to apply 2x a day. Then, last week I discovered my first patch of it and discover that Heinie also has 2 more spots and Pirate (his big brother) has it on his chin from giving baths to the youngster.

I am in full freak out mode now and get appointments to take all 3 kitties in to be checked and to get a more aggressive treatment plan. This plan includes bathing all the cats twice a week for 3-4 weeks, mopping with bleach, vacuuming carpeted areas every day and washing everything possible with bleach... I have been a cleaning machine!

It is a good idea to take the cat to the vet but if money is tight and you are willing to try to go it alone, Here are some tips for you:

1. Don't panic - get an over the counter cream for athlete's foot that contains miconazle or some monostat (there's a joke here, but I will pass!) apply it liberally around the spot. It also helps if you can trim the hair as close to the skin as possible. This makes it easier to find the patch & treat it.

2. Wipe everything down with bleach. This includes the litter box. The bleach needs to stay on for 10 minutes if possible.

3. If you have multiple cats - keep them separated if possible. I chose not to do this because I need to be able to sleep with out the sound of imprisoned cats trying to break down a door to get to their buddy. You can bathe them in a medicated shampoo like Neutrogena T-gel. Bathe even the unaffected cat, it will kill any spores that are trying to latch on.

4. Change your linens (i.e., towels, sheets, blankets) often.

5. Realize that it will take at least a month to feel like you are starting to win... persistence pays off!

6. Don't ever try something on a cat that you wouldn't try on a baby. There are some freaky home-remedies out there that could seriously hurt your kitty or even kill it! Keep in mind with any treatment, that your cat is going to lick itself...

Here's a photo of "Typhoid Heinie"...

OMG. We had ringworm at our main adopting home last year. It was a total nightmare!!!! Our poor Director had to quarantine her home, which really screwed up our ability to take in more rescues and do adoptions. Not only that, but she had to completely disrobe and shower after each time she saw the kittens or she risked getting herself or her 7 cats sick!. She told me it took two hours every time she had to feed or check up on the kittens. Because they were not handled much, they didn't get well socialized, either. Thank GOD they all got homes and are all fine now.

I had a ringworm scare in November. Had to wait 2 weeks to find out if we were ALL infected-thankfully it wasn't the case, but those tests are TOO SLOW! I believe ringworm can live in the environment for a LONG time, like months and months, so be on the lookout!

Glad all is well now. Heinie is a cutie!

A quick test has been around for six years, because when my little tuxie Lilibet Squeekietoy of my previous post went to see Auntie Dr. Val, Auntie Linda did the test right there in her lab. Unless for some reason the test has been taken off the market, it's a test done right in the office. The results are immediate! Linda came dashing out of her lab and said, "Lilibet has ringworm!" and then we all laughed because she was so delighted at this brand new test that she sounded as if ringworm was a good thing! But of course the test was the good thing! I'll call Linda tomorrow and find out the test's name for you.

My kitty had ringworm when I adopted her. She got grisofulvin and an anti-fungal shampoo from the vet. I didn't get any bleach or laundry instructions, and she was clear maybe two months later. Of course, I only had the one cat, and systemic anti-fungals are generally more powerful than topicals.

My teenie female tuxie had ringworm when I got her and about two weeks after I brought her home from the wonderful adoption ladies in Marion, Illinois, a biiiiig patch of her fur fell right off her itty bitty kitten side. What a shock! Naturally, it was Saturday afternoon and I had to take her to our superb emergency vets and ringworm is so scarce Round these parts they thought she had somehow been burned and gave her some antibiotic burn cream til she could see our regular vet, Auntie Dr. Val and the head vet tek, Auntie Linda, on Monday when it was established that, lo and behold, ringworm it was, with a brand new test that had just been released. Of course, by then, both little Billi Bi and Jack the Giant Cat had tiny bits of it--and me, too!

I quickly did mass reading up on the inet and discovered that some strains are actually self-limiting and that turned out to be the case with our small infestation, which was good because after one application of kitty ringworm meds Jack said, "That's it for me!" and muscled his way out of any more treatments. At eighteen pounds of pure muscle that was definitely his prerogative. We all got treated (hey! me, too, cuz I'm a mammal, too!) with the liquid vet treatment and all f
traces were gone two to three weeks later. No icky poo scary baths, no bleach, no spread of ringworm at all! Whew! Amazing!

I don't know how often this is the case but we all lucked out on this one.
As vet emeritus Uncle Dr. Berglund always says, kitties with ringworm tend to look "a little motheaten."

I just had to test one of my cat's for ringworm and the test takes two weeks to incubate. I'd love to know of a test that gives immediate results! Please post something if you've got news about it!

My vet used a black light to check for ringworm. Sometimes the fungus will be bright green under the light. I knew exactly what it was because right before I discovered it my nephew had been diagnosed with it by his pediatrician. We chose not to use the medication (saved that as a last resort). The anti-fungal cream (we used Monistat) did the trick and the multiple baths in the antifungal shampoo nipped any new "lesions" in the bud.

It was quite a nightmare but we are ringworm free now: )

Can anyone tell me the appropriate amount of Clorox to be used in the washing machine? I know for wiping down surfaces it should be 1 1/2 cups of Clorox to one gallon of water. But what about washing towels, sheets, bedding, etc.?

When I adopted one of my cats, I noticed she had a ringworm spot on her head. I just treated it with Lamisil (I believe that is what it was) and it was gone after a few weeks. I didnt keep her seperate from my other cats, nor did I clean in bleach or wash anything. Did the same thing when another kitty got a little spot a couple years later. I volunteer at a no-kill, cage free cat shelter and ringworm spores live all around...nothing you can I dont treat ringworm as a big deal. I just put the cream on it and wait for it to go away.

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