Ringworm in Cats (cont.)
How Is Ringworm Diagnosed?
Since some cats show few or no symptoms, a diagnosis of ringworm is rarely made just by looking at the skin. A veterinarian may use an ultraviolet light to diagnose ringworm, or may examine a fungal culture taken from a cat's hair or skin cells. Skin biopsy and microscopic exam are sometimes also performed.
How Is Ringworm Treated?
Treatment of ringworm depends on the severity of the infection. A veterinarian may prescribe a shampoo or ointment that contains a special medication to kill the fungus. In some cases, oral medications are necessary. In order to ensure that you've eradicated this resistant and hardy fungus, treatment may have to be given for several months or more and fungal cultures rechecked periodically. It's also important to treat the cat's environment, too, to prevent infection from recurring.
How Can I Prevent Ringworm from Spreading?
If your veterinarian has diagnosed your cat with ringworm, he or she will explain what you must do to prevent the fungus from spreading to your other pets-and to the human members of the household. But keep in mind that if you have other pets, it's likely that most of them have been exposed as well. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do the following:
As a commonsense precaution, it is a smart idea to thoroughly wash your hands after you bathe or touch your cat.
What Can Happen If Ringworm Is Left Untreated?
If a cat with ringworm is not properly treated, the lesions can spread over large areas of the animal's body, causing hair loss and skin infections.
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