Removing Ringworm From Cat, Person & Environment

by Julia
(New York, NY)

Reader Question: Removal of Ringworm

Our house already had 16 pets when the formerly feral shelter cat that belonged to my 30+ daughter-in-law was dropped off with us. The pets I had were a shed-less poodle & 2 of her Goldendooodle pups - again - they do not shed. The other 13 pets are pet rats that are part of a home hobby business. They live in a series of cages connected by 'tunnel runs' making them quite comfortable & able to complete a 14' run. They are kept on a different floor than the cat. I am immune compromised by reason of long term treatment with hydro cortisone.

Shortly after the cat moved in (a cat which would lick one/including me on the arm when it was near. Interestingly, I developed ringworm in the same area of my upper arm where the cat would lick. (It was discouraged from this behavior. Within a month after the cat moved in I developed confirmed ringworm on my upper arm where the cat was wont to lick. I have had this condition for over a year, & despite 2 dermatologists & several topical treatments, my ringworm will not abate. After 2 days on the web I am overwhelmed

--I have variously read that: the cat could be a carrier with no symptoms itself [20% are} the cat will always be a carrier. This cat sheds volumes of fur (I have never seen anything like it B4 & I have had several cats. Could this voluminous shedding be fur snapping off due to Ringworm Fungus?

Ringworm fungus can last 4 years in the room the cat is in. I am a newly senior citizen with early onset Parkinson's. I am totally overwhelmed with getting rid of the Ringworm fungus. Can you please advise me on what to do? {Step by step procedure or resource or source which would set forth the same including possible adoption groups for this particular cat or someone I could hire to do this as I am extremely challenged physically.

Please help ---- I feel like I am living with the cat
from hell & I don't know what to do!!!!! (My skin varies between dry & itchy to angry red weals & itchy) I am seeing my dermatologist tomorrow, again. Please help me (the Cat is a short hair, neutered female, age unknown)

Vet Suggestions For the Removal of Ringworm

Hello Julia,

I am sorry to hear about the ordeal you are going through with ringworm. Unfortunately as you have already found out, this can be an extremely frustrating condition to deal with.

I’m afraid there is a good chance that the new cat could have brought the fungus into your house. To find out whether or not the cat is a carrier, your veterinarian could perform what is known as a toothbrush test. This involves combing your cat’s fur with a toothbrush and then poking the bristles into fungal growth medium and evaluating anything that grows. If your cat has the same species of ringworm that you do (this can be determined under the microscope), there is a good chance that one of you gave it to the other.

If the cat is a carrier for ringworm, it might be best to consider finding her a new home with people who are not immunocompromised. I’m afraid that with your weakened ability to fight off infections this could become a chronic or recurrent problem. Measures are available (e.g., antifungal baths and dips) that could reduce the number of fungal spores the cat is shedding to the point where healthy adults with “normal” immune systems would probably not be affected. Of course, you should be completely honest with any potential new owners about the ringworm situation so they know what to monitor for and what risks they might be taking on.

Follow your doctor’s treatment protocol and decontaminate all the areas in your house that the cat has had access to. Vacuum floors, rugs, and upholstery thoroughly and wash everything possible in a hot water and dry it on a hot setting. Use one part bleach to thirty part water solution on any hard surfaces that won’t be damaged by it.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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