Yes, cats can get ringworm (ringworm cat) and so can dogs and other animals. Ringworm is caused by a fungus infection known by the scientific name dermatophytosis. The fungi which causes this disease is named dermatophytes. Dermatophyte Microsporum canis (Mcanis) is the fungi which presents about 90 per cent of the cases with cats and ringworm infections. The other dermatophytes in cats are called Trichophyton mentagrophytes, M persicolor (contact with infected wild rodents), M fulvum, M gypseum and T terrestre. (isolated from the soil)
Ringworm is contagious. M canis is usually found in clusters around the infected cat hairs. The infected cat hairs will usually shed into the cats environment. A cat can become infected by contact with contaminated objects with ringworm as clippers, bedding, grooming tools and with other infected cats, dogs or animals. Ringworm is more common in young cats that are less than one year of age and long haired cats (Persians).
It is impossible to diagnose a cat with ringworm from its appearance only. The ringworm can be confused with other skin diseases. A cat may have severe skin disease when another cat with ringworm can only have minor lesions or no lesions and look completely normal.
There are three tests that a veterinary can do to diagnose a cat. A microscopic examination does reveal very rapid positive diagnosis. A fungal culture does reveal the most reliable results of determining whether ringworm is present and the type. The ultraviolet wood’s lamp can reveal the suspected ringworm on cats if present.
The best treatment for your cat is both a oral medication (systemic therapy) and a topical therapy. (treatment which is done directly to the skin and hair coat) Products that can be used include Itrafungol (contains itraconazole), Terbinafine (Lamisil: Sandoz) and Lufenuron. (Novartis) Topical therapy is best accomplished when done to the cats complete body by dipping or shampooing. A chlorhexidine and miconazole shampoo (Malaseb) is usually applied twice a week. Enilconazole (Imaverol:Janseen) is used for cat dips. Imaverol can cause fatal toxic reactions with cats. Owners who use Imaverol usually do so at there own risk.
Once the cat is on the proper ringworm treatment program, the problem with usually be resolved within a two month time frame. Don’t forget about the decontamination of your environment and objects as this is paramount to a healthy household and surroundings.