THE RINGWORM CHRONICLES
By Lindsay Staufer
So... you want to read about ringworm. Well, you've come to the right place. Some people will tell you that ringworm is no big deal, while others will label it as a fate worse than death. I myself am one of the latter. That's only because I hate repeatedly bleaching the hard surfaces in my home, vacuuming every night, bathing 2 cats twice a week, and performing many other unsavory chores.
Eliminating ringworm is hard work, and it can be both mentally and financially draining. So I have put together a ringworm diary in order to share my experiences. My goal is to provide some consolation to those of you who have gone through (or are going through) the same thing, as well as educate anyone who is just yearning for an insider look into battling ringworm.
Disclaimer: The following contains clinical descriptions of symptoms observed by me along with diagnoses and treatments from my veterinarian and personal physician. This log is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your own veterinarian or medical professional.
June 12, 2004
Yesterday, I noticed a red spot on my right hip. Today, it is a little larger but looks flaky in the center. And there's also a new spot about 8 inches up that looks the way the first one looked yesterday. So I went to the doctor today and was diagnosed with ringworm.
About 3 weeks ago, I noticed some skin problems on my male cat's stomach, tail, and behind one ear. The same sort of thing - red with scaly patches. I had also found a flea on him, so I was confident that he just had a flea allergy. But now that I've been diagnosed with ringworm, I think he must have had it all this time.
June 15, 2004
My cat had a vet appointment, and they took a sample to see if the skin condition he has is ringworm. The vet told us that they would have the results in 4 days. Based on the way his skin looked and the fact that I was recently diagnosed, the vet was confident that this cat was one big ringworm festival. They gave him a double dose of Program, which is a safer ringworm treatment than many of the other drugs. My female cat has an appointment for tomorrow morning to see about treating her for ringworm as a precaution.
Tonight, we will bleach all the hard surfaces in our home, spray Lotrimin and vacuum, change the air conditioner filter. This is to be done on a weekly basis. We are to launder bed sheets, towels, etc. on a nightly basis.
June 16, 2004
The vet felt like it would be a good idea to treat my female cat with Program as well. She gave me two pills - one for today with food and one for two weeks from now. She also took a fur dander sample (toothbrush culture) to see if ringworm grows, but we won't get the results of that for 10 days.
For cats with ringworm...
Mix only enough to use each time you bath and discard what you don't use.
1. Regular Bleach
2. Dawn Dishwashing Detergent (original blue formula)
3. Betadine Solution
Mix the bleach and Betadine first, then add the Dawn. You will get a chemical reaction. You should end up with a clear liquid. It may heat up a bit, and if it does, wait until it's not warm to use it.
June 21, 2004
The ringworm results were positive for my male cat.
June 22, 2004
My female now has sores on her chest and ear.
June 27, 2004
The sores behind my male's ears have been healing, but the ones on his tail are getting worse. The underside of his tail is now covered in huge bloody scabs. As for my female, her ringworm continues. Despite my bleaching and vacuuming, my father caught ringworm from his visit to my home a week ago. Happy Father's Day, Dad.
June 28, 2004
I spoke with the vet. My female's test results came back positive for ringworm. I stopped by the vet's office and picked up 1) Malaseb shampoo to be used on the cats twice a week for 3 weeks, 2) Conofite, a daily topical treatment for the lesions, and 3) the next double doses of Program for both cats.
If we don't see improvements from all of this, the vet wants to switch to a stronger medication. However, said medication has potential side effects (i.e., liver damage), so this would be a last resort. Both cats get baths and Program pills tonight.
Tips & Suggestions
- Be sure to serve Program with a fatty meal.
- Program in the liquid form is allegedly more effective than the pill form.
- If Program doesn't knock out the ringworm, Sporonox is known to be an effective alternative. Some feel that Fulvicin can suppress the cat's immune system.
- Diet is very important while treating for ringworm. If you feed your cats dry food, try to increase the amount of good-quality canned food. A fatty acid supplment, such as Derm Caps, would be helpful, too.
- A recommended spray to use is Tomlyn Fungisan.
- Cleaning tip: Spray water in the air from a spray bottle. It will bring the spores to the ground, which are possibly floating in the air.
- If possible, take the cat(s) outside in the sunshine on leashes for 5-10 minutes. Some say that outdoor cats rarely get ringworm because the sun's rays help prevent it.
- Don't forget to bleach the litterbox and vacuum the scratching post.
- Change the a/c filters and vacuum cleaner bags.
July 2, 2004
It's bath night for the cats.
July 5, 2004
The ringworm on my hip has finally cleared up.
It's bath night again.
July 9, 2004
The female's skin is showing some improvements. The ringworm on my father's face is gone.
It's bath night.
July 12, 2004
The male's tail is looking worse. There are bloody scabs, and the hair has fallen out around them. He has another vet appointment for Thursday.
Oh, something new... bath night.
July 13, 2004
Both cats received Program pills.
July 15, 2004
The vet examined my male cat's tail and determined that it is infected. She shaved the tail to get better airflow around the skin. We're starting him on Amoxicillin, an oral antibiotic. He will receive this twice a day for 10 days. We are to continue the the Program, Malaseb baths, and Conofite drops.
July 18, 2004
It's a big night for bleaching, vacuuming, and more.
July 19, 2004
While bathing the cats, I noticed I have ringworm again. This time it's on my leg and my shoulder blade. I've been trying not to interject too much emotion into this log, but I might as well include that this latest development has driven me to tears. And I'm still working on the proper analogy to describe how angry I am. I'm leaving for a business trip tomorrow, so I guess my clever analogy will have to wait until the end of the week. Until then...
July 24, 2004
Clever analogy: I'm so angry that you could rub glass in my eyes and I wouldn't even feel it.
July 26, 2004
It was a difficult decision, but I ended up returning the cats to their breeder. They were showing no signs of improvement, and I had no way to properly isolate them in an apartment. I had only had the cats for a short time and I just couldn't expend anymore energy (and money) on getting them healthy. Needless to say, this has been a learning experience.