Battling ringworm on our cats and ourselves.
Have you ever had a cat with ringworm? It’s a skin infection caused by a fungus. I’ve had a couple cats with ringworm through the years, and have gotten used to living with it from time to time. That includes living with ringworm on my own skin! It isn’t pleasant: a scaly, red, itchy rash forms on the skin and the hair falls out. But it’s not too terrible, either, and luckily it can be treated on humans with anti-fungal cream such as the kind used for athlete’s foot. You can buy this cream over the counter at your local drugstore, and often the product will have “treats ringworm” listed on the back of the package. This takes several weeks of daily application for humans.
But how about for cats? Our black cat, Solo, got ringworm several years ago on his nose. The vet gave us a pill and a pill gun, and Solo more or less obediently allowed us to give him pills for awhile. He recovered quickly; it was no big deal. But Boca, our other cat…well, Boca is a unique little fluffy.
Boca, aptly named for her mouth-oriented nature (eating odd objects, meowing mournfully each day, and occasionally biting) is a beautiful multi-colored cat with shades of orange, cream, black, and white. She’s adorable! Her favorite hobby is climbing inside boxes or bags. Here you can see a few pictures of her enjoying various containers, and she doesn’t even mind being transported around the house in them! But never take her to the vet…
When at the vet, she becomes a hissing tense demon. She’s difficult to work with and freaks out at the littlest things, even if she’s not in pain. When she began having red scabs around her ears and eyes, we had to take her to the vet to see what was wrong. The vet managed to get a sample of the affected hair, and got it tested for ringworm. The test didn’t reveal she had ringworm, but the vet treated her for it anyway.
We were given an ointment to protect her eyes, and an anti-fungal liquid to swab the areas twice daily. The ringworm patches would disappear, and reappear in a few weeks. This has been going on for several months, and she still has a few stubborn patches. We were given meaty-flavored pill pockets and ringworm pills to feed her, and for the first couple of weeks she ate the pills, but then refused to finish the bottle, not even eating the pill pockets!
So we’ve more or less resigned ourselves that she’ll have ringworm indefinitely until her body’s immune system learns to fight it off. There are dips we could give her, which would be the ordeal of her life I’m sure. But we’ve spent so much time and money on her that we can’t afford to try anymore medicines – especially when nothing has cleared it up entirely, and it always comes back anyway.
Ringworm, ticks, chiggers and parasites are just a part of living with nature, in uncomfortable harmony. My patch of ringworm, which began on my side after Boca’s ringworm appeared, cleared up easily with antifungal cream. This is the second time I’ve had ringworm, since I got it from Solo the first time. We’re a family that shares 🙂
If you’re not in the mood to receive your pet’s generous offering of ringworm, here’s how to prevent ringworm. It’s everywhere in our natural environment, but washing clothes in hot water can help remove spores. (This is a weak area for us because Ryan likes to save energy by only using cold water for laundry) Also, frequently cleaning surfaces and vacuuming carpets can help reduce your contact with ringworm. Washing your hands after touching pets affected by ringworm is another good way to prevent it from spreading to you.