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Cat Ringworm -- Symptoms of a Contagious Skin Condition

Jul 15, 2008
The most common infectious skin disease in cats, cat ringworm is not a worm, but a fungal infection. It is highly contagious and can be spread to all the animals and people in the house.

It's a self-limiting disease, meaning that it will clear up on its own. In many cases the disease resolves within 6 to 8 weeks. Stubborn cases, however, may persist for weeks or months even with treatment. Cats with compromised immune systems may take longer. In any case, your veterinarian may prescribe treatment no matter what, since it is very common for animals to pass this disease to humans and other animals.

Ringworm is also referred to as dermatophytosis. It's a fungus which feeds on the keratin protein found in nails, skin, and hair.

The disease gets its name from the round ring-like appearance seen on the skin. The classic ringworm symptom presents as patches of hair loss which appear as circular scaly areas with raised edges. These symptoms are fairly easy to spot.

The most common locations for infection are the head, face, ears, tail, and paws. Early symptoms include dry, flaky skin. In addition, you may see bald areas on ears, the legs, and around the eyes.

Cats with compromised immune systems may experience more severe symptoms, including crusty lesions that may become infected, red and sore.

Cat ringworm symptoms include broken hair and hair loss, either in irregular or circular patterns throughout the body, although some cats may lose no hair. You may also notice bumpy, scaly, red, or inflamed skin, and deformed claws. The affected areas may or may not itch.

Cat ringworm can only be diagnosed by your veterinarian, so get in contact with your vet if you suspect your cat is infected.
About the Author
Kurt Schmitt has created an online resource for cat lovers and writes about the symptoms of cat illnesses including cat ringworm
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