Dermatophytosis in Kittens

Ringworm infection in Kittens
Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a particular fungus (dermatophytes).

Kittens are prone to ringworm infection as they have poorer natural skin defences and less developed immune response compared to adult cats. Ringworm lesions can occur on any part of body. Typically, they appear as discreet, roughly circular bald patch that may be scaly and inflamed.

To diagnose ringworm infection, veterinarians may examine kitten using an ultraviolet light. Some ringworm infection will fluoresce under the lamp. More commonly, veterinarians will take some skin scrapes or fur from the affected region and perform a fungal culture. Fungal culture is the most reliable way
to diagnose the infection.

Once ringworm infection is confirmed, treatment using topical creams and shampoo and/or oral anti-fungal drugs will be initiated depending on the severity of the skin infection. Oral medications may be too strong for very young kittens and only topical treatment will be initiated. Treatment is usually done for 6 to 16 weeks to ensure the infection is completely eliminated. Clipping the fur around infected area also helps to make treatment more effective. Fungal cultures are usually repeated every 2-4 weeks to ensure the infection is under control. Typically, two consecutive negative ringworm cultures indicate your cat has been successfully treated.

It is important to note that ringworm infection can spread to other kittens/ cats in the same household and also to humans. Basic hygiene should be practiced. Items that cannot be disinfected well such as cat trees should be disposed of. Wash kitten’s beddings and toys and disinfect the environment with diluted bleach (1:10 to 1:1000 dilution). As ringworm fungus can remain infective for up to 18 months, regular vacuuming and cleaning of environment is crucial.

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