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Looking After  Your Pets Health

590 Lark Street

Geneva, IL  

630 232-8868

Meadow View Veterinary Clinic Veterinarian Batavia, IL

            Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is caused by the infection of keratinized tissue (skin, hair, nails) by a fungal organism.  The most common afflicting organisms are Microsporum canis, Microsporum gypseum and Trichopyton mentagrophytes.  These fungi may also affect people and not just animals.  Cats may develop a carrier state in which the pet does not exhibit any clinical signs but may infect other animals.



        “Classic” lesion is a circular lesion of hair loss with scale and healing in the center (often not seen in animals)

        May be isolated to a couple of lesions or have many lesions

        Hair loss, crusting, scale, pustules

        Typically minimal itchiness

        Cats may have subclinical infection where no lesions may be present but they may act as carriers

          Miliary dermatitis:   A clinical sign exhibited by cats to many different skin conditions (atopy, flea allergies,     folliculitis, etc.).  Usually there are many small crusts over the body with small areas of hair loss (alopecia).



        Can not be based only on signs, mimics other forms of dermatitis (pyoderma, mites, allergies, etc)

        May be difficult to diagnose

        Skin scrapes to rule-out mites

         Not commonly found on cytology

      Wood’s light- not very accurate

                      Emits a light that may fluoresce Microsporum

                    ONLY Microsporum canis, and only about 50% will fluoresce

                    Fluorescence may occur with some scale, ointments or creams and sulfur

                   Works as a screen for ringworm, not a diagnosis

        Fungal Culture

                    Most reliable method

                    Cannot always grow organisms. so no growth does not mean ringworm is not possible

                     Hair, nails, etc. are placed on a growth medium (DTM)

                        Can identify organism after growth with cytology

                       Takes about 10-20 days for growth



        All pets in household should be treated

       Long haired cats should be clipped if possible

        Localized lesions may be treated topically


                  Various antifungal creams, sprays and lotions (athletes foot creams)

                    Chlorhexidine shampoos

                    Ketoconazole shampoos

                    Miconazole shampoos

                     Lime sulfur dips

      Systemic or oral medication


                           The standard therapy for many years



                            Vomiting or diarrhea may result

                            Do not use in pregnant animals

                            Not generally recommended for use in cats


                       Generally well tolerated

                       Generally fewer side effects than Griseofulvin

                       Vomiting and diarrhea still a potential

                       Decreased appetite

                       Often a higher cost than griseofulvin

The absorption of compounded liquids is often poor and the Sporonox brand is recommended



Not generally considered effective for ringworm



Generally well tolerated

Liver side effects possible - monitoring liver values is recommended for long-term use.

Program (lufenuron)

                       A flea preventative for dogs and cats that inhibits larval growth (doesn’t kill adults)

           Acts by inhibiting chitin synthesis so the fungal organism cannot grow

                       Generally considered ineffective treatment anymore.


                       May help clear clinical signs in some cases

Cats may remain carriers even though not exhibiting signs

No longer available at this time

    Adjunctive therapies

Area and environmental treatment

         Discard bedding, etc. if possible

         Clean kennels, cages, etc. with a 1:10 dilution of bleach with water

         Vacuum carpet, floors and furniture to remove as many hairs as possible, discard bag

         Spores can remain viable in the environment for a year


Treatment should be maintained until a two negative cultures are obtained or 2 weeks past resolution of signs depending on if treating a cat or dog.  If you are showing signs of ringworm, consult your physician.

In long-haired cats or multi-cat households, resolving infestation can be difficult.