Are These Cat Ringworm Symptoms?

by Patti Smith
(Huntington Beach, CA)

Reader Question: Does My Cat Have Ringworm?

Two weeks ago, I noticed some red bumps above my cat's eye, after a while they turned into a scab and went away. I thought she just got scratched by something. But then it came back and now it’s also over her other eye as well. I've attached a picture and it appears round in the picture and looks to me like ringworm. However, it starts out as red tiny spots, they don’t itch her. She is a 10 year old female American Short hair and healthy in other ways. I was putting on Aloe Vera gel which seemed to help, but I’m concerned now because it is the same above her other eye. I wonder if this is mange or ringworm. I have another cat which seems fine.


Patti Smith

Vet's Input Regarding Probability of Reader's Cat Having Ringworm

Hi Patti,

Yes, ringworm is a possibility based on the description of your cat’s symptoms, but so are many other conditions, including allergies (either to something in her environment, flea bites, or an ingredient in her food), mites, autoimmune disorders, bacterial or yeast infections, and more. Identifying the cause and coming up with an effective treatment plan for dermatological problems in cats usually takes some diagnostic testing (and patience!).

I approach these cases in a step-wise manner. First, I perform a complete physical exam and run some cheap and easy tests like a fungal culture for ringworm, skin scrapings to look for mites, and skin cytology to rule out infection. If the answers aren’t there, I might try some empirical treatment (e.g., Revolution to eliminate parasites that can be hard to find on skin scrapings and a hypoallergenic diet trial). I continue in this manner – a few more tests and another round of therapy – until we have our diagnosis and/or have come up with a treatment plan that works for that individual.
Good luck,
Jennifer Coates, DVM

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