Ask the Veterinarian/Ringworm


We returned from a shelter with a 4-month-old kitten who, several days later, proved to have ringworm.  The kitten had free run of our house for several days before being diagnosed.  The kitten had arrived at the shelter only a few days before we adopted him, and he and several litter mates were presumably already infected but not showing obvious lesions.  I don't think the newly arrived kittens were screened by the shelter for ringworm, etc.  Upon introducing the infected kitten into our household, the kitten, my spouse and I all carried spores from the kittens at the shelter and from fomites from the immediate area at the shelter where they were kept.  How can you not cuddle a kitten!  Was it too late to segregate the infected kitten in our household - assuming we had some sort of isolation chamber - even if we did so immediately upon introducing the kitten into our home, to keep the spores from infecting our adult cat and us?  All ringworm problems have since been resolved...we hope.

Ringworm spores live on the hairs.  Wherever the cat's hairs fall off, there will be spores.  SO a good vaccuuming and treatment of the infected cat will help prevent transmission.  I recommend a spray of a dilute bleach solution (1 part bleach to 30 parts of water) to affected surfaces where the kitten has been. Once the kitten is treated with an antifungal drug for a week, there should not be additional spores.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf


Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats


I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

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