Our pets are important and dear to us-but our aim should always be to maintain a positive contact with them. This is especially true from kids’ point of view as they are the most susceptible to pet borne diseases. If your dog or cat is suffering from ringworm, it is important to use vet approved remedies for treating it immediately. This is the only way you can curb the spread of the infection to you and your family members. Today we will discuss ways to treat ringworm in cats and dogs as well as how to prevent it from spreading to humans.
Identifying and treating ringworm in cats and dogs
Following are the symptoms of ringworm in cats and dogs.
- Ringworm appears as a patch of thick scaly skin.
- In cats and dogs, it may lead to significant hair loss in patches.
- The lesions are circular in shape and though there is a misconception that they are caused by larvae or worms; they are actually caused by fungus.
- Ringworm lesions in cats and dogs appear within 2-4 weeks after exposure to the fungi.
Even without treatment, the lesions might disappear within 8 weeks and hair can start to re-grow in a few weeks. However, ringworm can be difficult to treat in pets as the spores can lie dormant for several weeks in the pets’ environment. While there is no particular medicine that will eradicate ringworm, some topical and systemic medicines can shorten the course of the infection.
Let us study some home remedies for ringworm in cats and dogs
Best remedies for ringworm in cats and dogs
In young kittens and puppies, topical treatment for ringworm works best as it can keep infection under control without harming the animals’ developing immune system. Topical treatment includes bathing the pets with medicated baths at least 3 times a week. It pays to shave off all the hair off the animals’ body (especially n long haired breeds) as it makes the medicated bath even more effective. Look for shampoos containing lime sulfur, chlorhexidine and /or ketoconazole.
For severe infection
In severely infected pets, you must use both medicated baths as well as oral medicines containing griseofulvin. Adult cats often have a suppressed immune system which may make the ringworm infection resistant to topical therapy.
Remember that most cases of ringworm in pets take at least 2-4 weeks of therapy to see results.
Can you get ringworm from cats and dogs?
One of the most important health risks of cat and dog ringworm is the risk to humans. Humans can easily get ringworm by handling pets, livestock etc that are infected. Of most susceptible are young people. Children can get ringworm from cat scratches or simply from infected hair and skin particles that have fallen off from the animals. The reason why kids are at most risk is because they tend to rub their faces after handling or petting pets.
How do animals get ringworm in the first place?
Ringworm spreads in animals and humans through one way only: direct contact with an infected pet/animal/human. The infection may be present in the pet’s environment through infected hair, bedding, kennels and pens. Ringworm fungus is often shed in the form of hair, fiber, skin scales etc. Sharing infected items like combs, nail clippers, trimmers, brushes, towels, bedding items etc can cause the fungal spores to spread from one animal to another. Human handlers can also accidentally transmit the spores from one animal to another through handling infected animals. It is therefore very important to isolate infected animals.
How to avoid getting ringworm from your pets?
1. Identify the infection and treat it right away
Make sure your pet is indeed suffering from ringworm. If yes, the first thing you can do is bathe the pet with a good quality antifungal shampoo. Lather and leave the product on the pet for at least 10 minutes before rinsing clean. Repeat this treatment 3 times a week. Wash the pet’s bedding in hot water and bleach. Also wash the tub and/sink after you have bathed the pet in it with bleach solution. If the infection persists or recurs after a week of treatment, seek medical help. You might have to administer oral or systemic medicines to your pet in extreme cases.Treat all pets in this manner, whether or not they are showing signs of infection.
2. Wash hands frequently
After handling pets, wash your hands thoroughly. Teach children to wash hands with soap and water. If needed, supervise young children when they wash hands.
3. Keep pets away from bedrooms and dining areas
Do not allow pets in bed with you. Also keep them away from areas where food is prepared or handled. Teach kids not to snuggle or kiss pets, touch their mouth after handling pets or eat or drink around them. Do not leave young babies with pets, unsupervised.
4. Clean the habitat
Regularly clean the pets’ habitat, pens, kennels, water and food bowls, small toys etc with bleach. Do not clean these items in your bathroom or kitchen sink to avoid contamination.
Pets are a great source of pleasure for us. However, things can turn ugly if they move from the backyard to your bedroom. Ringworm in pets and humans can be difficult and painful to treat especially if your pet continues to get and pass it on to you. With a few precautions though and thorough hand-washing, you can avoid these hassles.