Ringworm is a very common form of skin disease that is found in both dogs and cats. Although its name makes you think otherwise, this skin disease isn't caused by any type of worm. It's actually caused by fungi known as Dermatophytes that feed on dead tissues found in the surface of the skin, spreading them around the skin of the animal.
With cats, there is a certain type of fungi known as M Canis that is found with nearly 95% of all ringworm cases. Normally, cats will get the ringworm disease from contaminated objects like bedding, clippers, or another animal that already has the disease. If there are animals in your home or around your house that have the ringworm disease, your cat could very easily contract it this way.
If you have kittens or cats that are under a year old in your home, you should always use precaution, as they are more susceptible to ringworm. Kittens can easily contract the disease, especially if you allow them to go outside. They can easily come in contact with a contaminated object or another cat that has the disease. Kittens take a long time to build their immune system up, and in the meantime they are more apt to get common disease such as ringworm.
The most common symptoms of ringworm in cats are rough or broken hairs, or hair loss around the head or the paws. Ringworm can easily be identified by a patch of scaly skin on the body that appears itchy and inflamed. There will also be broken hairs around the patch of scaly skin. This area is very sensitive, and you should never try to touch it, as it will hurt your cat.
If you notice any of the above symptoms with your pet, you should immediately schedule an appointment with your vet. If the vet diagnosis your cat with ringworm, he may prescribe ointment or tablets. What he describes however, will determine on how serious the ringworm is. If he prescribes tablets to your cat, you should give them with meals. Ointment on the other hand, is normally spread into the coat, topically. You should always use what your vet prescribes on a daily basis, to ensure that your cat heals. The healing process will take time, normally around six weeks or more.
Cats that have ringworm should be labeled as infectious. If you have children in the house, you should keep them away from your pet. Whenever you handle your cat, you should always use gloves. Ringworms are contagious, and you should always use caution. Even though it's a mild disease, ringworm can result in serious problems due to the slow recovery time and fact that it's contagious.
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