What is Ringworm?

Ringworm is not a worm - it is a fungus. It often assumes a ring-like, scaly, reddened shape on your pet’s skin

Ringworm In General: Cats -especially longhaired cats - often have multiple ringworm sites on their bodies. I see it most often in kittens. Dogs often have only a single lesion and, again, it is most common in puppies and immature dogs. Cats that recover from ringworm often remain carriers of the fungus with no external signs. Because it can transfer to humans, it is best to wear gloves when treating ringworm or playing with infected pets.


Signs of ringworm are typically circular patches of broken hair in ring-like whorles. Surrounding this darkened area is a band of inflamed, reddened skin within which the hair is also broken off short. The most common areas for ringworm to occur are the face, ear tips, tail and paws. When these areas are examined with an ultraviolet light source the broken hair shafts often fluoresce

How Your Pet Catches Ringworm

Ringworm fungus does not penetrate normal skin. The fungus spores are passed into a scratch or scrape on the same or different animal. The usual source is a carrier pet that shows no signs of the disease. Not all pets in a household that are exposed to ringworm develop the disease. Some pets never become infected while others do become infected but develop no overt signs of the disease. Some of these animals go on to become silent carriers that spread the disease to others


When I suspect ringworm, I test the affected area with a special fluorescent lamp that can show up the fungus. I often examine affected hair under the microscope and take a sample to be grown in the laboratory to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Ringworms

First, infected pets should be separated from those that show no evidence of the disease. Vacuum your house and scrub down kennels to remove fungal spores. Throw away the vacuum cleaner bag once you are finished. Be sure to wear gloves when you treat or handle infected pets so you don’t become infected or spread it to other pets.

General treatment revolves around anti fungal medication (syrup or tablets) and  anti fungal shampoo.

A good antifungal disinfecting solution for about your home is a one in twenty solution of household bleach and water.

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