Stop The Spread Of Ringworm

by Gretchen Lawrence
(Mackay, Idaho)

Reader Question: How To Keep Ringworm In A Cat Confined

I found a cat a few months ago who I think was dropped off and she was starving. She put on weight but I also realized she was pregnant. She had five adorable kittens last week. Today I noticed a little area on one kitten’s head that had what sounds like ringworm, thinner hair flaky or scaly skin basically like three scales not red but I panicked. I called the vet he's an hour away (I live out in the middle of nowhere) and he said use some iodine twice a day. I have her in a pen outside with the kittens now that separates her from the other cats but they have all been walking around the same areas all week. I don't see anything on the others and I've been mopping everything with bleach water in the house.....UHG! It's a nightmare.

The questions,
Will that remedy keep the others from getting it?

How long do I need to keep her quarantined if this does clear up?

Help....I'm sort of a clean freak/germaphob anyway and this is a nightmare!!!!

I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of it.
- Gretchen

Veterinarian Responds To Reader Question About Stopping The Spread Of Ringworm

Hi Gretchen,

Ringworm can be a difficult condition to eradicate so you are right to question whether or not you
are doing everything possible to get rid of it.

There is much stronger medication than iodine that can be prescribed to treat ringworm, so if you really want to prevent this from becoming a big problem you should talk to your vet.

The first thing to do is to confirm that you are dealing with ringworm. This can be done with a simple fungal culture where your veterinarian will pluck some hairs from around the lesion(s), place them in a special agar, and identify anything that grows. He could also screen your other cats using a toothbrush test. This involves combing a cat’s fur with a toothbrush and then poking the bristles into fungal growth medium and again, watching for the growth of certain types of fungi.

If one or more of your cats does have ringworm, they should be treated aggressively (regular baths with a medicated shampoo and/or lime sulfur dips sometimes in combination with oral antifungal drugs). Affected individuals should remain completely isolated until follow up toothbrush tests are negative.

You also need to decontaminate all the areas that infected cats have had access to. Vacuum floors, rugs, and upholstery thoroughly and wash everything possible in a hot water and machine 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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Oct 18, 2012
by: Anonymous


Thank you for the detailed reply!

The kittens didn't have ringworm after all, thankfully! I figured it was kind of like cradle cap...I had treated the areas with iodine a few days before I asked here so I can't be sure but I am very lucky!!!

Hopefully your answers will provide help to the next person who "freaks" out.


Thanks so much!

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