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Yuck! I Got Ringworm from my Cat!

Ringworm Pet

Image courtesy of Fixnation

Did you know that ringworm is one of the infections you can actually catch from your cat? Don’t worry your cat did not actually give you worms.  Ringworm is not a worm at all, it is a highly contagious fungus. It is also amazingly hardy.  The ringworm fungus can live up to a year!

Ringworm lives on the skin or hair of your cat.  You cat, and you, can get ringworm through contact with the infected animal, hair or even infected skin cells living on dishes, bedding or furniture. With a lifespan of a year, that means that you can pretty much catch ringworm almost anywhere.

The good thing is that ringworm is easy to treat, on you and your cat, and though is highly contagious is little more than yucky to look at and a bit itchy.  Though if left untreated can cause cracked skin, scarring and lead to other infections.

Ringworm is aptly named because it causes little sores that look like donuts or raised circles on your skin. The outer area is puffy and red with the inner part of the circle being flat. On your cat it will also likely create a bald patch. Often the skin will flake like dandruff. Scratching the sore can cause it to get inflamed.

Ringworm will generally appear on your cats ears, head and legs, but on you it can appear almost anywhere, though legs, arms and torso are the most likely spots. Kittens and older cats are more prone to ringworm than adult cats.

If you think your cat has ringworm, you need to take him to the vet immediately. If left untreated, ringworm will eventually go away. However, this is not before the cat has infected you, your pets and everyone you know. Plus it can take a VERY long time for it to cure itself.

To treat ringworm your cat may be given a medicated shampoo, a topical ointment or in more severe cases an oral medication. If you get ringworm, take yourself to the doctor, and he will likely give you a skin cream that will help the itch and treat the fungus.

If your cat has gotten ringworm then likely all your other pets have been infected, and possibly your whole family. You will need to make sure that everyone is seeking treatment if they develop the sore, and you may want to use the medicated shampoo on all your pets because your pets can be carriers without being symptomatic.  You will also need to thoroughly clean your pets food and water bowl, bedding and likely vacuum your house a few times to get up all the infected hair and skin dander.

Ringworm is easy to treat but is hard to get rid of if left alone. Bring your cat in today to get diagnosed and treated for ringworm if you suspect they are infected. Also, you dog can get it too!