Ringworm?! Are you flipping kidding me?!
August 24, 2011 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Talk to me about ringworm -- our cat has it. This is a first for me.

Our delightful young cat, Dashiell, has just been diagnosed with ringworm. O happy day. :-/ It isn't too serious yet -- he has three or four small isolated (nickel-sized) patches that popped up the day before yesterday, and we're going to be treating him with the stuff the vet gave us. But neither my wife nor I, who have both had many cats, have ever had this problem to deal with.

The vet prescribed topical ointment and shampooing only. Should Dashiell be taking oral meds as well?

Has any of you fine Mefites ever caught ringworm from a pet?

We were told not to bother trying to disinfect our environment, as the spores can last for years. Good advice, or whistling in the dark?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit to Pets & Animals (6 answers total)
Generally, ringworm isn't much of a threat to you unless you are immunocompromised. I wouldn't recommend poking at it with your finger and rubbing it on yourself, but if you happen to get it you can put some antifungal cream on it.

I've never gotten it from an animal, but I've gotten it from somewhere (I'd just flown, so I assume it was somewhere in transit). We're exposed to the fungus all the time, every once in a while it actually takes hold.

Unless your cat is immunocompromised, it's overkill to treat for systemic skin fungus. There are other fungi that are better addressed with oral medication (nail fungus is a bitch, for example), but young animals in particular are just more prone to catching it. It'll be fine.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:06 PM on August 24, 2011

I had a mommy cat and an entire litter of kittens with ringworm. It's actually extremely common. And yes, I got it as well. It's really not as bad as it's sounds; its just a rash that can be cleared up with any anti-fungal that treats athlete's foot. The cats had their own cream (don't ever give kitty human meds without vet approval!), but it was really hard to apply with all the fur and stuff...

You can try to clean (I washed and wiped everything I could with bleach), but chances are you won't get everything. But it made me feel better, and I figured it couldn't hurt, so I did it anyway.

That being said, one of my kittens still had it for months... it just wouldn't go away. Then one day I just noticed it was gone. It wasn't because I did anything, as I had given up on the bleach weeks ago.
posted by cgg at 2:19 PM on August 24, 2011

Here's my question from last year: http://ask.metafilter.com/167236/How-do-I-fight-ringworm-in-my-environment

Shampooing her was exhausting and heartbreaking and hilarious. But it was effective. Both of us got over it eventually and we're now happily fungus-free.
posted by ootandaboot at 2:53 PM on August 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Our foster litter also came down with ringworm, and, while it was a huge PITA, it wasn't a big deal. It is common among cats who grew up in unsanitary conditions; put a little bleach on any rash that a human gets and that stuff will clear up fast. None of our other, non-foster cats got it, which I think is saying something.

However, the topical meds did basically nothing. We tried them for weeks and more outbreaks occurred. Maybe our litter had it bad, but I'm convinced the only thing that really cleared up the patches were traumatic the Lyme sulfur dips that have the hilarious side effect of turning white fur green. The litter needed multiple dips, which we started doing at home because the vet visits were so costly.

Other than the dips, we bleached the room where the litter was staying at least once a week. Not sure if that helped.
posted by zoomorphic at 3:25 PM on August 24, 2011

Our cat Yorvit, star of Mefi podcast, came down with ringworm shortly after coming to us from the shelter. He ended up getting treated there, in the kitty isolation ward, for weeks. He got over it fine, although it took quite a while, and we didn't catch it from him. The sulfur bath stuff is smelly and turns white fur yellow for a bit.

Other than the usual vacuuming and so on, we didn't clean things. Neither of the other cats came down with it.

It's a pain to deal with but causes no lasting harm. Your kitty will get better.

And yeah, we need photos of the cat in question.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:29 PM on August 24, 2011

I had ringworm! I don't even know where I got it but I assume some sort of animal, though who knows. I had dreadlocks at the time [shut up] so I couldn't just use the topical cream and they gave me some pill that cleared it right up. Other than the grossness of having to tell people I had ringworm, it was pretty easy to get rid of [I washed sheets and clothes and everything] and did not recur.
posted by jessamyn at 4:44 PM on August 24, 2011

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