Cyclic fungi in cats between diagnosis and treatment
One of the most important and difficult fungal diseases of is ringworm in cats. Perhaps there is no cat that has not been infected with it, or that it is at least carry with the infection.
The risk of fungi of ringworm in cats is due to the ease of its spread and also because its treatment requires a long period of continuous follow-up, precautions and preventive measures that must be maintained in order to prevent the recurrence of infection or its spread in surrounding cats.
What is ringworm in cats?
- Ringworm in cats is the common name for fungal infections of the superficial layers of skin, hair, and nails.
- Ringworm infection can occur in humans and in all types of domesticated animals.
- The name comes from the classic appearance of a round, red, raised ring that identifies the inflammation in infected people.
- The common name of “rounded worms” is somewhat misleading, as it is not an infection caused by worms, and the affected areas are not always in the form of a ring.
- Living organisms that cause ringworm infection in cats belong to a specialized group of fungi known as cutaneous fungi, so the medical name for this disease is Dermatophytes.
- Some types of skin fungi are species specific, which means that they will affect only one species of animals, while others can spread between different types of animals or from animals to humans.
- There are approximately 40 different types of skin fungi, each of which tends to infect a specific host animal
- In cats, there is one type of skin fungus, called Microsporum canis, that is responsible for almost all cases of ringworm.
- These types are also infectious to dogs and humans.
- Ringworm infection in cats may sometimes be caused by species such as Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
- The last species is also Zoonotic fungus, which means it can infect humans as well.
What are the methods of infection with ringworm in cats?Ringworm in cats
- Ringworm in cats is a fungus that is very virulent and infectious
- Thousands or millions of spores are produced around infected hair and this is the main source of infection for other animals.
- Infectious spores can spread to other cats quite easily and in two ways:
- Direct: Your cat can become infected when it is in direct contact with another animal infected with ringworm
- Indirect: A cat can catch ringworm by touching the mattress, food and water dishes, toys and other things that belong to another infected pet or pet carrying the infection
- spores can remain in the environment for up to two years and are difficult to kill
- Infectious spores will stick to the skin, and this could be the beginning of a new infection.
- Although healthy skin is completely resistant to infection, any scraping or damage to the skin will allow the infection to develop more easily.
Who are most susceptible to the infection of ringworm in cats?
Ringworm infection in cats is more common in: Ringworm in cats
- Small cats (less than one year): due to weakness in the skin’s natural defenses and a less developed immune response
- Cats with long hair: they grooming themselves less effectively, so long hair containing with spores may be easier and more difficult to remove.
What are the signs of ringworm in cats?
- The onset of ringworm infection in cats is highly variable.
- Some cats have severe skin lesions, while others have only very slight lesions or no visible lesions at all and may appear to be completely normal.
- Typical skin lesions are in the form of semi-circular areas almost separate from hair loss, especially on the head, ears or legs.
- Hair breakage may occur in the affected areas.
- The affected skin is often scaly and may appear inflamed.
- Ringworm can look very similar to many other skin conditions for cats, including some symptoms of flea allergic dermatitis (FAD), and may appear as symmetrical alopecia or even acne.
- There is usually some hair loss, but the amount of inflammation, scales, and itching varies
Can I catch ringworm from my cat?
- Ringworm in cats is a (Zoonotic disease), which means that it can spread from animal to human.
- Ringworm infection in people usually occurs in two ways:
- Direct infection: After a person deals with infected cat or cat carrying the infectious spores
- Indirect infection: after dealing with items that were used by an infected cat, such as a hair brush.
- Individuals with weak immunity, such as the old and young people, are more likely to develop ringworm.
How is ringworm in cats diagnosed?
- To ensure that an infection is the result of ringworm fungi in cats and not another type of hair fungus or skin problem, the vet may perform diagnostic tests:
1- Wood’s lamb:
- It emits ultraviolet light at a specific wavelength.
- During an infection with M. canis, a byproduct is produced inside the affected hair that causes the hair to glow with apple-green light under the ultraviolet light of the lamp.
- This can be a quick and easy test to find out if M. canis infection or ringworm in cats is possible or not, but it cannot be confirmed 100% due to:
- Only about 50% of M. canis infections show glow
- Certain medications or pollutants on the skin and hair can also cause glow
2- Microscopic examination of suspected hair:Ringworm in cats
- Samples of the affected hair and skin scraping are examined microscopically
- Fungal elements can often be seen alongside the infectious spores surrounding the affected hair, but the exact results require expertise, often better in the lab.
3- Fungal culture:
- Hair culturing in the laboratory using a special fungal culture medium is the most reliable method for diagnosing infection of ringworm in cats. In addition, this test allows to identify the types of skin fungi.
- One disadvantage is that it may take up to three weeks to obtain a result from a fungal culture.
- If one cat in the family is diagnosed with ringworm in cats, you will need to examine all other animals, even if they appear to be completely unaffected. In most cases, all cats in the family are positive to the cultured and require treatment.
- Please note that the absence of Dermatophytes in microscopic examination of the skin sample does not exclude ringworm infection in cats.
- The latest method for ringworm detection is by testing a non-invasive polymer chain reaction, more commonly referred to as PCR.
- Like a culture test, the PCR test uses skin and hair samples but can detect ringworm in only a few days.
How ringworm in cats is treated?
- If your vet diagnoses ringworm in cats, he or she will likely prescribe an anti-fungal drug to treat the infection.
- Itraconazole is a medication that is frequently used for infected pet ringworm.
- Sometimes topical ointments are used to treat ringworm in conjunction with oral treatments
- By using both oral and topical treatment regimens, they will kill germs on the skin and systematically suppress infection in cats.
- Finally, if you have a cat infected with ringworm, you will need to treat your home’s environment in order to eliminate any remaining germs.
- Use the right percentage of diluted bleaching solutions on surfaces after your general cleaning routine to kill ringworm fungi spores.
- Keep the bleach solution in contact with the surface for a full ten minutes to ensure cleansing of the area.
How do I prevent my cat from being infected with ringworm?
- Ringworm in cats is highly contagious, but it can also be prevented if appropriate steps are taken.
- Washing your hands before and after handling your pet is the easiest way to reduce the possibility of you or your cat being infected with ringworm.
- Do not let your cat play with cats that do not live in your home, and maintain a healthy living environment for you and your cat, Aggression Between Cats in Your House
- If you have ringworm, don’t touch your cat until your doctor determines that you are completely infection-free