By Vet. Amir Ahmed Yousef*
Boha, an Egyptian Cat, was brought to my clinic one month ago. She was suffering from general hair loss with patches on her head devoid of hair. When I examined her, I found crusts and scales on these patches. Further, I used my Ultra-violet lamp in order to closely examine Boha’s skin. After thorough examination, I found fluorescence of these patches; this is a rapid technique to diagnose a very common skin disease in cats, called as cat ringworm or dermatophytosis.
I told Ms. Nagwan (Boha’s parent) that Boha is suffering from dermatophytosis and this is a zoonotic disease i.e. it can be transmitted from cats to humans. I started giving her Vacderm (intramuscular injection against dermatophytosis), 3 injections with a gap of 12 days each. Along with that I gave her a local cream ‘Miconaz’, to be applied twice daily for a span of 21 days. I advised Ms. Nagwan to let Boha sit in the sun daily especially after sunrise and before sunset for about half an hour as the sun plays vital role in treatment of this disease. Further, I prescribed her immulant syrup (immunostimulant drug) with the dosage of 2 ml daily for complete one month.
After finishing the course of treatment for about 45 days, Boha has cured now and her hair have grown again beautifully.
I shared this experience with you to let you know, how cat ringworm can be treated practically.
Following are a few important pointers regarding Cat Ringworm, which every cat parent must know:
- Dermatophytosis affects mainly immunocompromised cats and cats under stress, such as kittens, pregnant cats, senior cats etc.
- It appears as circumscribed patches devoid of hair with crusts on the skin of the cats especially on areas such as head, neck, legs etc.
- It can easily spread among cats and humans by two ways: (i) direct contact with infected cats, and (ii) indirect contact with contaminated objects (cat toys, combs, towels etc.).
- Dermatophytosis infection depends on many factors such as age, immunity, nutrition etc.
- If you notice your cat suffering from heavy hair loss with or without patches on skin, you should visit a veterinarian to get her examined for this disease by one of the following means:
- By using U.V. lamp on skin of cats; fluorescence will appear in case of dermatophytosis. This is considered as the most easy and rapid technique to diagnose this disease in cats.
- By direct microscopic exa-mination after scrapping the skin with scalpel from the infected area.
iii. By fungal culture of hair and crusts from the infected areas. This is considered the most accurate method of diagnosis of this disease, but it takes very long to get the results, almost about 3 weeks.
- Treatment of dermatophytosis takes around 30-45 days.
- Recommendations for its treatment by the veterinarians may include the following things:
- Give your cat good quality and quantity of food.
- Give your cat anti-internal and anti-external parasites periodically every 2-3 months.
iii. Exposure to the sun especially in the early morning and before the sunset is very important.
- Avoid bathing your cat repeatedly as continuous humidity on the skin aids in the spread of infection.
- Avoid using the infected objects as combs, toys, towels, bowls, and litter box.
- Give your cat immunostimulant drugs, omega 3&6, and multivitamins.
vii. Give your cat local and systematic antifungal drugs.
viii. Shaving of cat hair helps in better treatment.
- If you have cattery containing many cats, isolate the infected cat to avoid spread of infection.
- Use strong disinfectant such as diluted bleach solution to clean your place, however, keep your cat away from such disinfectants.
All the cat parents do keep these pointers in mind. Best wishes for good health to you and your cats!
* The author is B. V. Sc. & M. V. Sc. Infectious diseases, Cairo University, Specialist in internal medicine & infectious diseases and can be reached at email@example.com