Ringworm is a skin disease caused by a fungus (plural: fungi). Because the lesions are often circular, ringworm was once thought to be caused by a worm curling up in the tissue. Ringworm has nothing to do with any type of worm.
Ringworm is also known as dermatophytosis. There are four species of fungi that can cause dermatophytosis in cats; it is most often caused by the organism called microsporum canis. Microsporum canis is so well adapted to cats that up to 20% of cats are thought to be asymptomatic carriers, meaning they have the organism but show no outward signs. Ringworm is actually an infection in the dead layer of the skin, hair, and nails. The fungus is able to utilize this dead tissue (keratin) in the skin as a source of nutrition.
So, in other words, ringworm is the same fungus that causes athletes foot and jock itch in people. It is in no way life threatening, but more so a nuisance.
My "experience" with this fungus started August 2009. I am not going to point any fingers but to make a long story short, I unknowingly purchased an amazing cat with an active ringworm infection and although he was isolated, in under a month, it spread throughout my entire cattery (which was also my home).
If I had known what I know now, I truly believe I could have controlled the ringworm, not only quicker then I did, but without spending any where NEAR as much money. I was terrified that my dream of showing and breeding my beautiful cats would be over! The stress of it all caused me to become very depressed and I was mentally and physically exhausted, not to mention BROKE. Some breeders suggested just "living with it", while others told me to get rid of all my cats and to "start fresh". Well, after spending over a year putting my cattery together there was no way I would "start fresh". After all, ringworm is NOT life threatening. YES, it is a nuisance BUT it is treatable. I realized that I was over reacting and that if I could just calm down and "go with the flow", I could keep this fungus under control and quite possibly eradicate it. But stressing my self out to the point where I was sick didn't do any one any good, including my cats!
After speaking with many breeders, in particular, Persian and Himalayan breeders, I am now aware how common ringworm really is. Especially in catteries that show, which as you know, are the catteries labelled as "reputable" catteries. One in three cats in a show hall carry ringworm spores. What does that tell you? I am not proud of the fact that we have been exposed to this nasty fungus BUT I also don't believe that something as common and treatable as ringworm should be a reason for me to give up everything I have worked so hard for.
Can ANY cattery really guarantee against ringworm? The simple answer, in my opinion, is "NO". I don't believe that ANY breeder who is bringing in new cats for breeding, any breeder who is showing, or any breeder (or any person really) who even takes their cats to a veterinarian, dog park or over to a friends house can say for certain that they will never get ringworm. It's simply not true because ringworm seems to be every where!
I do feel that breeders should continuously work hard to eradicate ringworm from their cattery and under no circumstance do I feel it is right to sell a kitten or cat with an active ringworm infection. Sadly, just because a kitten or cat doesn't APPEAR to have ringworm does not mean they are not carrying ringworm spores on their coats. This is when the new owner needs to do their part but isolating their new kitten/cat and doing preventative treatment for a short time to ensure "all is well".
But what I feel is MOST IMPORTANT is that a breeder is honest about their situation. That they are upfront with buyers and that they do ALL they can to ensure the kittens and cats sold from their cattery are ringworm free.
In conclusion, even though I cannot and will not guarantee that my cats and/or kittens are "ringworm free"' (which my contract states); as a good and reputable breeder, I promise to do all that I can to ensure that no cats or kittens with an active ringworm infection leave my home until they appear to be "clear". If ever I see ANY THING that could be ringworm, I immediately treat without a second thought. After all, I do have children of my own and it is my goal to ensure my family (human and fur) are as healthy and happy as possible.
To the kitten buyers out there…
I recommend that after bringing in a kitten from ANY WHERE that the kitten is isolated for at least one month and that the kitten/cat is given topical treatment once a week during that time. Ringworm isn’t the only reason a kitten/cat should be isolated when going to a new home. There are many viral/bacterial/fungal infections, parasites, flea’s, mites, etc that could be passed along to other animals in the house hold. Isolation is important for many reasons.
I continue to work very hard and to spend a lot of time and money to ensure that I do all I possibly can to keep this fungus out of my cattery.
Of course, kittens are most susceptible and because I preferred not to have them get ringworm at all, as a preventative measure I did topical treatments from 3 weeks of age and if necessary treated the entire litter with oral Sporanox (low dose 5mg/kg) until they went to their new homes.
I feel I am an honest individual and I would never intentionally sell an ill kitten to any one. I am aware that by including this "page" on my website that I very well may turn potential kitten buyers away. However, please keep in mind that the majority of breeders you come across will probably have, at some time, dealt with ringworm as well. The only difference is, I am not afraid to admit it.
I have put together the below information for people looking to eradicate ringworm. The below information is my opinion only. Some of the information provided is from research, some is from personal experience. I hope that it may help some one out there.
Most “Effective” Topical Treatments
I wanted to share this information with as many breeders, rescues and even pet owners, as I could. Many people prefer not to talk about it which results in not getting advice from those who have already experienced it. That is why I am posting this information - to help those who want to keep it to themselves. In most cases it is FALSE information that you must have a “dirty” cattery, shelter or house hold for your animals to have ringworm. The truth is, ringworm is highly contagious - you can pick it up at a dog park, vets office, cat show or even from going to a friends house who has an animal with it. It really has very little to do with the cleanliness of your cattery/shelter/home.
It IS over whelming. There are far too many “answers” about treating ringworm online. Many of them are false. Many of them are treatments that really don’t work - at least not for a cattery or rescue. Homeopathic ringworm treatments may HELP but the truth is, when you are dealing with a cattery or shelter situation you need to hit it fast and hard!
I tried numerous products over a two year time period. Both topical and oral medications and disinfectants. I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with the below information in regards to effectiveness when treating microsporum canis. I wish I had found this information while I was treating for ringworm myself but I guess “better late then never”. I know that one day I will see ringworm again - it’s just a matter of time. As I said, it is every where.
Turns out that in most studies I came across the same "ingredients" were proven to be effective in killing microsporum canis as a TOPICAL treatment. Enilconazole (Imaverol), is equivalent in it's effectiveness to lime sulfur. These are the two most recommended products when dealing with microsporum canis. Of course, lime sulfur is a product I have used and swear by but it has a terrible odor (although, after a while you get use to it!). Imaverol I have used more so for spot treatments because not only is it expensive but I found that it caused irritation to my cats skin. When buying the Imaverol concentrated solution, it is diluted 50 to 1 (50mls of water to 1ml of Imaverol). This SOUNDS like it goes a long way but unless you put it in a spray bottle (instead of using it as a dip) and your cats are SHAVED, it doesn't last all that long. A 100ml bottle costs about $60.
The other two “ingredients“, the ones I included the below links about, when used TOGETHER, have been found to be the THIRD most effective topical treatment against microsporum canis. They are miconazole and chlorhexidine. Miconazole is an imidazole antifungal agent and Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic. I did some research, trying to find what shampoo's were available with these two ingredients. Malaseb, which does contain both of these is still not available in the USA or Canada. I did contact the company and they are hopeful that within the next year, Malaseb will be available again. Apparently it was a contractual issue. Any ways, I found another product called Micohex Shampoo which is the "generic" of Malaseb. It contains both Miconazole and Chlorhexidine AND appears to be available in both the USA and Canada AND it isn't prescription HOWEVER there have been times before that I THOUGHT products were available only to find out once I contacted the company that they cannot be shipped to Canada or that they are "out of stock". I did contact the company in Canada that apparently sells Micohex however due to the fact that the Micohex is coming from their suppliers off shore, they cannot ship the product to Canadians (only people who may have a US address). Canadian Customs and Health Canada are extremely strict about medications coming from overseas, and they will not allow it to be processed, even though all of their products are FDA approved.
So, I did a little more research and found a few separate shampoos here in Canada that can be mixed together to work the same way as Malaseb or Micohex.
One of them, which I have used for over two years, is Virbac Dermazole (2% miconazole) and another one is Virbac Hexadene (3% chlorhexidine).
These two shampoo's likely need to be purchased through a vets office. The Dermazole costs me about $20 for an 8oz (237ml) bottle. You need VERY little of this shampoo so it lasts quite a while. HOWEVER, I always recommend bathing the cat FIRST with regular shampoo so that the antifungal shampoo(s) lather in better.
Another chlorhexidine product is called Douxo Chlorhexidine PS Shampoo
I purchased the gallon jugs of Chlorhexidine and Miconazole from DAVIS in the USA. You can find these products online if you google and often can find them on Amazon or Ebay at a reduced price.
Here are some studies that talk about the use of lime sulfur, miconazole and chlorhexidine.
(this is a long article so I have included the "paragraph" that I wanted to share with you in particular. However, this article is very useful as it tells you how to effectively treat ringworm in a multi-animal facility.)
Lime sulfur (4 oz/ gallon (25mg/l) applied every 3-7 days) and 0.2% enilconazole (applied twice each week) are the only active ingredients that have repeatedly demonstrated high efficacy in clinical studies. 15-18 Enilconazole is only available in the United States as a poultry facility disinfectant and off label use is not permitted by the EPA. Lime sulfur is readily available and non-toxic. Due to its noxious odor, many operators refuse its use. Other active ingredients have demonstrated some benefit. Particularly noteworthy are the products that combine antifungal agents miconazole and chlorhexidine to produce a synergistic effect.19 These may help physically remove organisms and provide some antifungal activity.
It seems that Ketoconazole (AKA - Nizoral) is one of the shampoo's at the bottom of the list for being effective against microsporum canis. I have read some studies indicating that the oral form is also not all that effective in treating microsporum canis. People feel they save a lot of money by buying Ketoconazole (I KNOW THAT I DID) but now I realize it wasn't worth it. Not only is it not proven to really work, but 120ml is about $12 in Walmart. At Costco, buying two 120ml bottles (totalling 240ml) costs over $20. So, buying the Dermazole (Miconazole 2%) (237ml) for $20 which is proven to be the third most effective product in treating microsporum canis, is really the better way to go IMHO.
Most “Effective” Disinfectants
I use Accel ( http://anivacfirst.com/accel-concentrate--canada-.html ) because it is proven to kill Trichophyton Mentagrophytes (which is the second leading cause of fungus found on cats - Microsporum Canis is the first). I started using this because it kills this fungus within a 5 minute time frame whereas bleach needs a 10 minute contact time to kill Microsporum Canis. This wouldn't be an issue however, it seems that bleach has proven to dry much more quickly then 10 minutes which means it likely was not effective in killing the Microsporum Canis spores which is maybe why TWO applications in a 24 hour period are recommended. Accel on the other hand does not dry as quickly and with only taking 5 minutes to kill Trichophyton Mentagrophyte in ONE application, it seemed like the better choice. Not only does it not smell quite as bad as bleach (which personally gives me a head ache) but it doesn't stain and is much less harmful to people and animals.
FYI: Hypochlorite (the most effective "agent" below) is bleach.
"Twelve disinfectant products or compounds were evaluated for their ability to kill Microsporum canis harvested from naturally infected material. The disinfectants were diluted to the concentration recommended for the disinfection of clean surfaces and the potency of each substance was determined by the degree to which it could be further diluted before losing its fungicidal action. Hypochlorite, benzalkonium chloride and glutaraldehyde based compounds were the most effective agents and phenolics, alcohol and anionic detergents were inadequate. Urea (10 mM) did not adversely affect the potency of any of the compounds."
This article is fantastic (but long) and it explains what disinfectants have worked in animal shelters.
Here is some information that I have taken from the above article that I found of interest.
Un-enveloped viruses are among the most common and challenging small animal pathogens requiring our attention. These include the notorious parvoviruses (canine and feline), as well as feline calicivirus and canine adenovirus. These viruses provide an interesting illustration of the perils of choosing a disinfectant based solely on label claims. Back in 1980, researchers at Cornell noticed that feline calicivirus seemed to spread in their research facility in spite of using a disinfectant labeled effective against that virus. This triggered a research study testing the efficacy of quaternary ammonium and other commonly used disinfectants against enveloped (e.g. canine distemper, feline herpes) and un-enveloped viruses (e.g. canine parvovirus, feline panleukopenia, feline calicivirus)1. Disappointingly enough, the quaternary ammonium compounds - labeled effective against un-enveloped viruses - utterly failed to inactivate feline panleukopenia and only partially inactivated the troublesome calicivirus. The authors concluded that 0.175% sodium hypochlorite solution was the most effective and practical broad- spectrum virucidal product used alone or in combination with other disinfectants/detergents. Good old household bleach diluted at ½ cup per gallon outperformed the others in this study. Over the years, subsequent studies continued to disprove label claims of quaternary ammonium compounds against un-enveloped viruses, in 19952, more recently in 20023, and again in 20094. It may be that a quaternary ammonium disinfectant will eventually be independently proven reliable against the un-enveloped viruses, but until then it is probably wise to at least follow these products with another, independently documented product when these viruses are about.
Even the mighty bleach is not without its flaws. It has no cleaning properties what-so-ever and is significantly inactivated by organic matter. Application of bleach to a contaminated surface is unlikely to have the desired effect. Although stable when stored in light proof containers for at least 30 days, heat and exposure to light can substantially compromise the disinfectant properties of bleach solutions. Bleach-related compounds, such as calcium hypochlorite (e.g. Wysiwash) and Sodium dichloroisocyanurate (e.g. Bruclean). The quaternary ammonium compounds, in spite of their weak performance against un-enveloped viruses, have strengths that contrast with many of bleachs weaknesses: they do have some ability to act as a cleaner as well as a disinfectant (depending on concentration and formulation); they have better though not complete activity in the face of organic matter; and they are relatively stable in solution. More recently additional disinfectants have become available that share bleachs reliability against un-enveloped virus, with reportedly better cleaning activity, better activity in the face of organic matter contamination, and more rapid action. These include potassium peroxymonosulfate3 (e.g. Trifectant, Virkon) and accelerated hydrogen peroxide.
The bottom line is that no single disinfectant will be sufficient for all situations. Accelerated hydrogen peroxide or potassium peroxymonosulfate may be the best choice to decontaminate a grassy area soiled by parvovirus, while quaternary ammonium may be a fine choice for daily cleaning/disinfection of dog runs where parvo is not a concern. Each veterinary clinic should have a small arsenal of disinfectants on hand for various eventualities. Ringworm is a particular challenge to eradicate through disinfection. As for the un-enveloped viruses, product label claims have not always been supported by independent studies. For instance, potassium peroxymonosulfate is labeled effective against ringworm, but in one study it was only 87% effective (translating to 9/70 contaminated hairbrushes still containing viable spores after treatment). Another study found that of the commonly used disinfectants, only bleach at 1:10, applied twice at an interval of 24 hours, was reliably effective. Given the importance of ringworm as a zoonotic and infectious agent in shelters, the backbone of decontamination must be thorough mechanical cleaning followed by verification via environmental culture.
So it seems that due to lack of PROOF that other disinfectants work as effectively as bleach, that bleach is still the number one choice (diluted 1:10) for treatment of the environment. However, as it states above, it is significantly inactivated by organic matter so the surfaces you are disinfecting must be cleaned thoroughly before applying the bleach solution.
I often use bleach/hot water to wash down the walls and cupboards in my cat areas and home (including my "pleather" furniture). I then will fog or spray Accel. I would think that by using these two products, in combination, would be flawless. In particular because microsporum canis is not the only thing, as breeders, we need to protect our cats from. Panleukopenia, Calici virus, Herpes, Chlamydia, Microplasma, Bordetella, Coccidia, Giardia and the list goes on. By using both of these products I would think that we would have our bases covered.
I wanted to also share this link while I am thinking about it http://anivacfirst.com/pure-oxygen.html . I have never used these products and cannot say how they work but I found them quite interesting. In particular, Pure Oxygen cleaner, deodorizer and fungal wash.
I know when I was battling ringworm I often wondered how I could disinfect my furniture, mattresses and clothing. I tried Health Guard Laundry Additive but I am not sure if it work or not. I even used this product as a "leave in" treatment after bathing my cats because it is said to have a residual effect. I do feel that it helped for sure and I always felt better knowing that my cats were less likely to be spreading spores around the house in between bathing. I used this also as a disinfectant in the fogger.
I did use bleach while doing my laundry, which resulted in many clothes being ruined. It didn't ruin my furniture or my mattresses. I still will often spray bleach solution on my mattresses and furniture. Curtains, bedding, cat towels and blankets… I feel also need to be “disinfected“. I will add bleach diluted into the washing machine (and will fill the machine up FIRST with hot water) before adding these things in. Then I will shut the lid for a few minutes, allowing the bleach to penetrate every thing and I will then keep the lid open (to stop the cycle) for a good 10 minutes - to allow every thing to soak.
At one point I also had ringworm on myself (which I did not even realize for WEEKS). I became paranoid and wanted my clothes "disinfected". I was told over and over that simply washing them in HOT water, with laundry detergent and drying them on hot would kill practically ANY THING. This may be true but it wasn't good enough for me. I felt "gross". At the time I only knew of bleach and again, this ruins clothing. Now as a precaution, I spray Accel onto my clothes and let them sit for five minutes before putting them into the washer!
When doing research, I found a product here in Canada called Amway Pursue, which has been found to be extremely effective when used in laundry, against a variety of bacteria, viruses and fungi.
Recommendations from Personal Experience
Many breeders deal with ringworm but prefer not to share that fact - understandable. But keeping it secret also means that you will receive less "help" and suggestions. Personally, if sharing my experiences and admitting I have dealt with ringworm helps even one other breeder - it's worth it!
Now that you know what topical treatments work best and what disinfectants work best when treating microsporum canis, I wanted to share a few things that I feel are very important when battling ringworm.
Isolation is a biggy. And preferably rooms with hard floors and semi or high gloss paint - so that every thing can be washed down and disinfected easily and effectively. No furniture, bedding, cat tree's, etc. As cruel as it sounds, it is best to have only litter boxes, bowls and plastic toys that can also be washed and disinfected. Using “pee pads” as bedding rather then blankets is ideal as they can be tossed each day. Going in and out of the isolation rooms as little as possible is also important. And while going in, using disposable booties and one set of clothing is ideal. Changing and immediately washing any exposed areas of skin afterwards is also smart.
Shaving cats down is also very important. Not only does this keep the environment less contaminated (since spores are carried ON the hair!) but also because you can more easily SEE if there are any lesions or scabs and you can SEE how well treatment is working. Many breeders don't realize that ringworm starts out as a TINY (almost not visible) scab and when your cat has hair (in the longer breeds) you don't even know they have ringworm until it has grown and spread. You also have a much easier time bathing and dipping the cats and the products tend to work a lot better when they are able to get directly to the skin.
I would also add L-lysine to the water daily to boost the immune system (a good immune system is so important when battling ringworm).
I would first use lime sulphur every other day for 1-2 weeks (depending on how bad the ringworm is). I would treat ALL animals - regardless of whether they APPEAR to have ringworm or not. This includes kittens from 3 weeks of age and older. On the "odd" day that you are not dipping, I would spray Imaverol on the lesions. After these first couple weeks, I would then start bathing them two to three times a week with the Miconazole and Chlorhexidine shampoo and if any areas still appear raw or scaly, I would also apply Imaverol in between bathing. After a week or so of doing this, I would continue bathing once a week for as long as you can possibly do it. Whether one month of twelve months! It won't harm them, will keep them super clean and will continue to prevent ringworm from returning. The hope is, that by bathing each week and continuing cleaning/disinfecting the environment in the mean time, that you will no longer see clinical cases and even though the odd spore may be here or there in the environment, that eventually over that length of time, that the ringworm would be eradicated from the environment AND the cats. Plus, certain cases of ringworm, like that of the nail bed, can take over a year of treating with oral antifungal medication to "cure". Remember when dipping your cats to ensure the nails and nail beds have been SOAKED.
My drug of choice by far is Sporanox (Itraconazole). It is more expensive but not THAT much more expensive when you figure that after three weeks it only needs to be given every other week (due to the residual effect it has). It appears to be much safer, with fewer side effects and most important - IT WORKS. Unlike some of the other antifungal medications I have tried (Ketoconazole and Fulvicin). Personally, I would continue to treat cats with oral antifungal medication for 4-6 months (except pregnant cats or kittens under 3 weeks of age). However, once a mother has delivered her kittens she can start Sporanox and from three weeks of age, her kittens can start Sporanox. A lot of people think that the oral antifungal medication kills the ringworm. This is not REALLY how it works. The oral antifungal medication simply STOPS the ringworm from growing and then the topical treatment actually kill the ringworm. After a few weeks of taking oral antifungal medication combined with topical treatment, the ringworm in all reality, should be gone. The oral medication should not have allowed the fungus to continue growing and the topical treatment should have killed any ringworm/spores ON the animal.
Another product that won't hurt to give is Colloidal Silver. It is said to be "multi-purpose" killing fungus and treating infections. Whether it really works, I do not know, but I have used it on myself and my daughter. The lesions certainly seemed to improve when it was used topically. Orally it can also be given and really, what is the worst that can happen? If any thing, it will only help. Adding it to your cats water is a good way for them to take it.
Disinfecting ALL grooming equipment (and only using it when necessary) is the best thing to do. Discarding it once the ringworm is "clear" would also be smart. I spray my combs, nail clippers, scissors with Accel after each use. Bleach rusts them - even diluted. I then rinse them after ten minutes and put them in the dishwasher. I have a Barbicide liquid and sanitizing jar that I keep in my nursery. All of the grooming tools I use on my kittens are kept separate and after use I put them in the dishwasher and then put them in the barbicide until I need them again.
Cleaning and disinfecting the environment is of course one of the most important steps. I would be sure to block off the vents/cold air returns or at least cover them or use top of the line filters in them. I would also have them cleaned and disinfected then replace your furnace filter with a top of the line filter each month. This is one of the main ways spores are spread through a house. Having a UV purification system installed is also a smart idea.
Vacuuming it obviously smarter then sweeping. The vacuum will suck the spores and hair up while the broom will spread the hairs and spores into the air only to land again minutes later - and all that hard work was then for nothing! lol.
This is how I clean my cat areas even still - it's always best to be safe rather then sorry! I wash the walls and cupboards with bleach/water 1:10 solution. I also wash the windows and wipe down the screens. In the mean time the litter boxes soak in hot water and bleach. Then comes mopping - I use bleach, Mr. Clean (or Pink Solution) and HOT water. Then, I put the clean litter boxes back into the rooms and any toys I have washed and put my new pair of clean booties on and fog the heck outta the room with Accel (including the floor I just mopped). I then let it dry and in about 30-40 minutes, when the room is decent, I bring the cats back in (whom I have just bathed in that 30-40 minutes I was waiting for the room to dry and air out). Then, my CLEAN cats are going into a CLEAN room. lol.
Of course, after actually cleaning the rooms, having a shower is important. I often use Nizoral or Selsun Blue as a body wash and once every week or two, I will wash my hair with Nizoral. Remember to pay special attention to the areas on your body that become sweaty as ringworm thrives in warm, moist environments. Ringworm on the body can appear different then the typical ringworm lesions. If you develop any red itchy patches of skin, even as small as the eraser on a pencil, it could very well be ringworm. As much as I don’t like to admit it, due to being over worked and exhausted which seemed to lower my immune system, I easily became infected with ringworm myself and dealt with it under my breasts, under my armpits and on my thighs. I was given prescription antifungal cream and took Lamisil and Itraconazole on different occasions. Personally, I would be sure to keep any areas that are prone to sweating extra clean and would use (or spray on) deodorant. I would also recommend using Nair rather then a razor as you can spread ringworm this way as well.
Using antifungal shampoo in your show bathing routine is also smart. Before AND after the shows. And of course, spraying all of your equipment and shelters with disinfectant and washing and disinfecting your grooming tools.
IMHO, fungal cultures are useless. They can give false negatives which I know ALL TOO WELL. I paid to have over 10 fungal cultures completed at different times and they were done by my veterinarian and sent away to a lab. We knew we had ringworm here as a biopsy confirmed it. However, all 10 fungal cultures came back NEGATIVE. I do not have much faith I them and personally feel that they are a huge waste of money. I spent over $800 getting them done and all for nothing.
Another thing I want to touch base on is the removal of “carrier” cats. The problem with this is that ANY and ALL of your cats can become carrier cats when they have been exposed to ringworm so even if it was one cat that brought it into the cattery/shelter; that doesn‘t mean that now that one cat is the only one who could be spreading it. There are certain cases, where if a cat has a very bad immune system, that they may easily become reinfected over and over. You see, even though the other “healthy and strong” cats in the cattery/shelter may be free of clinical signs and even though there may be spores in the environment or spores being passed from one cat to another; it takes far fewer spores to infect the cat with the poor immune system and once infected, that cat cannot as easily be “cured”. The immune system plays a big role in battling ringworm. I can say this from personal experience (myself) and from attempting to clear one cat of ringworm over a two year period and failing each time when each other cat in the cattery remained clear. Unfortunately, it is also important to remember (as I mentioned above) that ringworm can infect the nails and nail beds which takes a much longer time to treat (over 1 year of being on oral antifungal medication is the recommended treatment protocol). It is very possible that, that one cat who just won’t become “clear” of ringworm has the infection in his nail bed and continues to reinfect himself. I urge all breeders to think long and hard about euthanizing a cat that has ringworm as for the MOST PART it is treatable. However, and as much as many people would not agree, because it is a zoonotic illness - if there is a cat that will not recover regardless of how many treatments you try and how many months/years you try to treat him then euthanasia may be the only logical option. The KINDEST option for the cat. You obviously would not keep the cat to continue infecting your cattery/shelter. And by passing this cat onto some one else you are setting the cat up to be neglected and possibly sent from home, to home to home until the time comes where he is dropped off at an animal shelter/rescue and all the animals there have become infected. It would be far easier to send the cat off to some one else so you don’t have to be the one to make that very difficult decision. But, what is the RIGHT thing to do?
I think the MOST important thing when treating ringworm to remember is - DO NOT STOP TREATING TOO SOON! You think that because two months have gone by and you have not seen ONE lesion that you are clear. Chances are that YOU ARE NOT. I say - keep treating, whether just topically or with both oral and topical medication. At least by treating longer you are making it less likely that the ringworm will return. If you stop too soon and every one breaks out again - you are starting from square one.
Sooner or later every breeder has a run in with ringworm. It is every where. Since dealing with ringworm myself I have been contacted by countless breeders asking for advice. I have also been GIVEN advice by many breeders myself. I think it is important to realize that you are not alone in the battle and that there are breeders out there willing to offer you advice and to help.
UPDATE: I recently was told about an article on PandEcats about making a lime sulfur shampoo and I felt that it was a terrific idea since lime sulfur has been found to be the most effective topical product to use when treating ringworm. It is less expensive then buying many of the shampoos available and should, in all reality, be more effective. If interested please visit the following link LIME SULFUR SHAMPOO