Mycosis in cats – Contagion and treatment
If you have decided to have a cat as a pet you should be aware that a little affection and food is not enough to take care of it. Therefore, as responsible owners, we must, among other things, take responsibility for your health. For example, one of the most common skin diseases in cats is dermatophytosis or mycosis.
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When you suspect your cat may have ringworm, do not think twice and go to the vet immediately so that the vet can perform the appropriate tests as soon as possible, as this skin disease caused by a fungus spreads very quickly through the body and is contagious very easily, including people.
Continue reading this article from YourCatCareguide in which you will find everything about mycosis in cats, their contagion and treatment . Also, discover some advice and home remedies to help your faithful friend overcome this problem.
What is ringworm?
Mycosis or dermatophytosis is a fungal skin disease , in other words, it is a skin disease caused by funds. This health problem is highly infectious and contagious as it affects a large number of living beings including cats, dogs and humans, so when it is also transmitted to people it is a zoonosis and therefore we must emphasize even more the importance prevention and treatment in case of detection.
The fungus that causes this condition is the Canis Microsporum , which affects the skin, hair and nails of the animals to which it parasites, as it feeds on the keratin that is found in these parts of the body. When ringworm also affects our cat’s nails, it is known as onychomycosis and we will know it is acting on our cat if we see broken, brittle nails.
As the dermatophytes can not live in inflamed areas or areas with fur, we can see that it falls by the areas of the body of our cat where the fungus lives. The hairless zones are one of the most characteristic symptoms of the disease.
Due to the high ease of contagion and reproduction of this disease, it is essential that if we detect it in one of our animals we start with the treatment and isolate it from the other animals that can be infected. Therefore, it is common to find cats suffering from ringworm in places where many are gathered, for example, in animal shelters.
The mycosis will be more or less severe depending on the time that the disease is already acting on the affected animal and also according to the previous state of health that your cat had. We must think that a weak state of health leads to the appearance of opportunistic parasites and this is how mycosis often manifests itself.
Factors favoring ringworm
As with any other disease, there are both internal and external factors that favor it, that is, they help the disease to spread to other animals and to extend into the already infected body.
A domestic feline will be much more likely to contract mycosis according to their health and their environment, for example, these are some factors that favor ringworm in cats :
- A low defensive system
- Other previous diseases or parasites
- Too much stress
- Unfavorable conditions, both of life and health as of the environment (excess humidity, lack of hygiene, excess heat, lack of sunlight, etc.)
Contagion of ringworm in domestic cats
Cats are the easiest animals to transmit the ringworm and infect it. This disease, when being fungal is used of the spores of the fungi to propagate by the environment and animal to animal. Due to this type of reproduction of the fungi, felines that do not suffer from the disease can very easily become infected when interacting with another cat that is sick and when coming into contact with objects like blankets, food, sandbox, toys, etc., that an affected individual has used, among other possibilities.
The environmental and health factors we mentioned in the previous section are key to the onset of mycosis in felines and for it to spread more quickly in the body of the already infected cat. So if we have a cat we should try to make sure that these factors that favor ringworm are the least possible in the normal way, but especially if our friend already starts to show symptoms and thus prevent the situation from getting worse.
In the case of cat puppies the ringworm may appear, more usually, due to poor nutrition that lowers their defenses well beyond a poor or no deworming. On the contrary, in the case of adult cats the presence of these fungi usually indicates something more serious than poor deworming or poor nutrition, because in these cats the most frequent causes of low defenses are other diseases or health problems, be it a cold, pneumonia or a serious viral disease such as leukemia that greatly affects the immune system of felines.
Symptoms of ringworm in cats
The symptoms begin to be visible between 2 and 4 weeks after the contagion. Some of the most common symptoms in domestic felines when suffering from ringworm are as follows:
- Licking, biting and frequent scratching of affected areas. Although they do so with the idea of alleviating what actually happens, this in turn facilitates the spread of the disease to the rest of the body. So we should try to get our cat to scratch or lick as little as possible.
- Circular lesions of alopecia are focused or generalized.
- Crusts and scales of a yellow color.
- A peculiar smell that comes from the skin of the affected animal.
- Appearance of cutaneous nodules that produce a strong smell in the area where they occur.
- The first parts of the feline body that are affected by ringworm are the ears and the extremities. But due to the rapid reproduction of the fungus, it is certain that in a few days the head and other areas will also begin to be affected.
Treatment against ringworm in cats
It is essential that the veterinarian performs all the necessary tests to make sure that it is a mycosis and, above all, to verify that there is no background disease that caused mycosis. These diseases, such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency, are often very serious and weaken the cat’s immune system, favoring the onset of secondary parasitic diseases and parasites. If you want to learn about these diseases, go to this article about the most common diseases in YourCatCareguide’s cats and learn why veterinary follow-up is very important for our feline companion.
Once the veterinarian has done tests such as cultures, trichrome or wood lamp, you can confirm the presence of mycosis fungi, which will indicate the best treatment to offer our cat. When the veterinarian decides on the appropriate treatment, he will take into account the age of our cat, other possible diseases and parasites, the state of his immune system and the risk of contagion to other animals, then from there he will indicate the treatment most appropriate to the needs existing.
You should clean the affected areas with iodopovidone or some antiseptic that is anti-infective and antifungal, which serves to disinfect and heal our cat’s skin. Once you have cleansed the area you can apply the most common and main treatment that is topical, be it powder, cream, ointment, emulsion or liquid. There are oral treatments but they are much more aggressive and toxic to the body of our feline, so we always try to use the topical treatments. Still, if the ringworm persists a lot you will have to opt for systemic treatment to get rid of the disease altogether.
As it is a long treatment and one has to be very persistent, you must have a lot of patience, but little by little you can see how your friend recovers until at last he is completely cured. It is essential that mycosis treatments be done exactly as and for as long as your veterinarian indicates, since the fungi do not need anything to be able to propagate again quickly.
Usually the treatments should last between 1 to 3 months , but any treatment for ringworm should be done for 2 or 4 weeks, even if the cat seems to be cured, this is the only way to ensure treatment success. When this time has passed, the veterinarian should repeat the tests to make sure that he has overcome the disease.
Home Remedies and Remedies to Treat Ringworm in Cats
Next, we’ll give you some natural and home remedies and advice to complement the veterinarian’s treatment and for your cat to overtake the ringworm more easily:
- Protect Yourself: Since ringworm is a disease that is zoonosis can affect humans, so be careful when tinkering with your cat and your environment while you are sick. In addition to cleaning and disinfect the whole house, especially the areas where your friend spend more time. Do not forget to use disposable latex gloves to touch and treat your cat. If you do not use gloves, you will need to wet your hands in diluted bleach in water to eliminate fungi and then wash with soap and water.
- Protecting others : So that the remaining cats, dogs or even other people in the house do not get infected, deep cleaning of the house will not suffice. The affected cat with ringworm must be quarantined from the others until it is completely cured and the veterinarian tells you. It will be good that, although there is only one affected pet at home, bathe everyone at least once with anti-fungal shampoo.
- Disinfect the house: As we have been referring to, disinfect and thoroughly clean the house is very important, because if you do not eliminate fungi from the environment no matter how much your pet can heal easily, the dermatophytes will again act. You can use chlorine, special detergents, bleach and you should thoroughly clean the vacuum cleaner. Therefore, you must remove the bag from the vacuum cleaner. If possible, it is important that you clean the furniture, blankets, pillows, toys, beds and everything possible with steam. You should clean as much as possible every day, at least vacuuming to remove contaminated hairs from the environment, but you should do this deeply at least on the first and last day of treatment.
- Cutting the hair : To prevent the fungus Microsporum Canis from spreading rapidly through the cat’s body, it should cut its hair around the round hairless lesions in which the fungus already inhabits. By eliminating the surrounding hair, it is making it more complicated for the dermatophytes to be displaced and therefore located to make it easier to eliminate them. You should eliminate the hairs that you cut from home, since the fungus will continue to survive on the dead hair.
- Brushing : You can brush your cat to help eliminate fungal spores, but it is a good method especially for spreading the powders or other antifungal products prescribed by the veterinarian throughout the body. After using the brush, you should disinfect it and move the vacuum cleaner around the area where you have brushed the cat.
- Bath : In order to maintain the hairless areas in which the fungus causes mycosis, infection free, it is important to bathe your cat with an antifungal shampoo and with the treatment that the veterinarian has indicated. These treatments and shampoos should be allowed to act about 10 minutes before being withdrawn. It is very important that the water temperature is warm, between 25 – 27ºC.
- Vinegar with salt : In addition to using products for sale in pharmacies, clinics and pet stores, there are medicines that you can make at home easily, such as salt vinegar. You should mix salt with vinegar and stir well until you get a kind of paste. Apply this resulting paste to the areas with ringworm on the skin of your feline companion. Let the mixture work for about 5 minutes, then remove it and thoroughly wash the area. You should repeat this procedure once a week.
- Garlic : Another remedy with a homemade ingredient that you can use is garlic. Garlic is known for its many properties, among which stands out its disinfectant and anti-fungal power. To prepare it, it should be chopped and mixed with a little petroleum jelly. Once you have this mixture ready, it should apply in the areas affected by the ringworm on the skin in the cat. Tape these areas with a gauze to let the garlic perform better and leave it on overnight. During the day give him all the necessary baths that the veterinary treatment indicate and apply a little more garlic after the bath. You can repeat this home remedy for at least 3 days.
- Neem Oil : This oil has strong anti-fungal properties. We can find it in pharmacies and in the herbalists. To use it easily against ringworm, we can add two and a half tablespoons of this oil in a container with aloe vera blending well. Then apply the mixture to the affected areas with the ringworm twice a day and let it work as long as possible, without forgetting the baths needed for the treatment.
- Grape seed oil : This other oil has very strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Therefore, it is a natural product widely used to treat ringworm in any animal. Mix the grape seed oil with a little warm water and apply twice a day over the areas with ringworm on the cat’s body. Surely between this oil so strong and the veterinary treatment, will begin to notice improvements.
- Tea tree oil: This essential oil that we can also find in pharmacies and herbalists, has very strong antiseptic properties and is used worldwide for several purposes. You can apply it to your sick feline companion directly in the affected areas and in a short time, along with the veterinary treatment and the indicated baths, you will start to notice improvements.
Also read our article on home remedies for ringworm in dogs because you can apply the same treatments on the cat.