Sunday 25 May 2014

Ringworm At Animal Shelter

Ringworm in cats is a bit of a nightmare to be honest. I know a bit about it myself because I got it from my cat. He keeps giving it to me when he rubs my legs before I feed him in the morning. He appears not to have ringworm himself but he must have it somewhere. His veterinarian did not diagnose ringworm in my cat but I think he's got it although you can't see it. Perhaps he has not got it and I got it from somewhere else but it is very transmittable from domestic cat to cat owner.
Photo by Christine Myaskovsky

What got me thinking about the difficulty of dealing with ringworm (and it can be hard to get rid of) is a recent story in the Essex Chronicle in which they report a ringworm outbreak in an RSPCA animal shelter. The shelter is near Braintree. This had to close the shelter down and treat every animal in the shelter causing massive disruption.

As mentioned, perhaps the greatest difficulty in dealing with ringworm is that it is highly contagious. You may well know that it is caused by a fungus and not a worm! The reason why it is called ringworm is because it often causes circular ring-like red blisters on the skin. The skin peels off around the edges of the inflamed skin. The inflamed skin is not always circular like a doughnut. It could be a semicircle or a straight line. When a person's immune system is a bit suppressed it can take hold more easily. Conversely, if a person's immune system is in good shape then it will deal with the infection by itself.

Apparently veterinarians test hair samples of the infected cats and dogs. Ringworm was confirmed in this shelter. We are told in the Essex Chronicle that in general the treatment is a 6 week course of a twice-daily lime sulphur dip. It smells awful apparently and it turns cats and dogs yellow.

Did I mention that ringworm can be hard to get rid of in dogs and cats! I think it is one reason why it's hardly worth dealing with because the course of treatment is almost worse than having ringworm in the first place.

You can't be careful enough when you are trying to get rid of ringworm. Even when a hair sample proves negative you have to bathe everything all over again and then wait a week to retest and to make sure that all the symptoms have gone. It is obviously a struggle and as I said in my opening sentence, a bit of a nightmare.

Ringworm outbreaks are quite rare but not that rare to be honest. I recall a similar outbreak in America in the cat shelter there.

If my cat has ringworm he probably got it from a stray cat when he was living with my mother because I do recall her taking-on a stray cat who used to sleep quite close to my cat (I adopted my cat from my mother's estate after she died about 2 and a half years ago.

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