Ringworm in cats is a fungal disease of the skin caused by fungi Dermatophytes. The lesions caused by the disease are circular and raised and because of their peculiar appearance they are thought to be “worm” crawling underneath the skin. Naturally, this is only a myth and ringworm in cats, dogs or humans has nothing to do with worms. In this guide, we will discuss the lime sulfur dip treatment for getting rid of feline ringworm. There are many effective ringworm remedies that kill ringworm spores and lime sulfur dip is one of them. However, one must use safety measures to ensure that the treatment works effectively without harming the pet.
What causes ringworm in cats?
Four different fungus species can lead to ringworm in cats. The main contributing factor is Microsporum canis. Ringworm is the infection of dead skin cells like those found in the hair, nails and upper part of the dermis. The Microsporum canis organism feeds on Keratin found in these cells. Nearly all cats have the Microsporum canis organism on their body but almost 20% of cats might remain asymptomatic and not even the symptoms of ringworm in their lifetime.
Lot of research is required to know for sure what causes ringworm in cats. Persian and Himalayan cat species are known to be at highest risk of ringworm. Household/domesticated cats can acquire ringworm from other infected pets or humans. Cats that live in pet shelters are at greatest risk since it is nearly impossible to control the spread of ringworm owing to the large number of infected animals there.
Clinical signs of Ringworm in cats
To answer what kills ringworm spores, it is first essential to diagnose the disease right. Failure to do so can lead to recurrence of fungal infections.
- The fungus lives in the hair follicles and invades the shaft causing them to weaken considerably. As a result; hair loss in patches is one of the most common symptoms of ringworm in cats.
- As the fungus multiplies it starts forming circular or irregularly shaped lesions which appear to spread outwards leaving a clearing in the middle.
- There is scaling and crusting of skin and the cat might appear irritable, itchy and show signs of anxiety.
- Scratching can lead to bacterial, pus-filled infections.
Diagnosis of feline ringworm must be done by taking culture of the hair and skin.
Treatment for ringworm in cats
There are many methods of treating cat ringworm:
- Oral antifungal medicines-Itraconazole in low doses can be safely administered to cats as an oral antifungal. Talk to your vet about the right dosing. Possibility of side effects may also be present with certain oral antifungal medicines. These drugs however are very effective in preventing fungal spores from adhering to the skin.
- Antifungal shampoos– These are the solutions to what kills ringworm spores that are rather easy to use. Talk to your vet about Pyrethrin based shampoos. Bathe all infected pets twice weekly for 8 weeks or as directed by your vet. Bathing with approved products can help remove fungal spores from the cat’s body and will stop them from dropping in its environment to cause re-infestation.
- Lime sulfur dips– Lime sulfur dips are very effective in controlling ringworm in cats. We will discuss how to use lime sulfur dip ringworm treatment in details below.
Note that you might not see the results of these treatments right away. The areas of hair loss might even appear to spread before they reduce. Give the treatment at least 3 weeks to show results. If, however, the crusty appearance of the skin does not appear to reduce after 3 weeks, have the vet examine your pet again.
How to use Lime sulfur dip for cat ringworm
Lime sulfur dip is once a week treatment for getting rid of ringworm spores. You must use this treatment until the infection is completely resolved.
- Lime sulfur dip can stain clothes, jewelry and even your pet’s hair.
- You must treat all your household pets with the lime sulfur dip ringworm treatment. Even dogs having ringworm can benefit from this treatment. Use 2% lime sulfur dip or as advised by your vet.
- Wear gloves when using the dip. Follow the instructions on the product label.
- While lime sulfur dip is the best way of killing ringworm spores, it has an objectionable odor and can permanently stain clothing.
- You can even spot-treat older cats having ringworm lesions: simply apply the lime sulfur solution on the lesions. However, it is recommended to bathe the entire kitten using the dip since kittens are more prone to recurrent and severe ringworm infections. Spot treating a single lesion can reduce contamination of pet’s environment.
Remember that despite this treatment, your pet will remain contagious for a few weeks. So educate kids to wash hands after petting infected animals. Also wash all pet bedding in hot water to kill ringworm spores. You might even consider changing the filters of your room heaters/ air conditioners since ringworm spores are airborne. Vacuum the entire house thoroughly and if possible wash all hardwood flooring with an approved household cleaner or bleach solution.
Lime sulfur dip is an effective ringworm remedy that can show good results in treating ringworm in cats.