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Ringworm -- Veeeery Concerned!

DianaR
November 9th, 2005, 07:55 AM
Hello everyone! What a great site! :)

So here's my story ... I bought two beautiful male, 8 week-old, orange-striped kittens at a pet store a month ago. They had received their initial vaccinations and deworming. My vet found them to be in good health. However, about 2.5 weeks ago, I noticed a small, balding spot on the left paw of one of them. At first, I thought it might be an abrasion, since they rough and tumble all day long. But then after my trusting Internet searching, ;) I realized it was likely ringworm, and the vet also has a strong suspicion about it, so I am waiting to learn the results of his first culture test.

In the meantime, I am very concerned because I do have an older cat [2.5 years] and the three of them spent the whole month together. My vet thinks that if the one kitten and my older cat are not showing any signs, then in all likelihood they are not infected. She has me doing the topical treatment on the infected one [ointment and shampooing] and recommending that I also shampoo the other kitten and keep them isolated from my adult cat. She is not recommending they be culture tested. I suspect that at least with regard to the kitten, if he DID test positive, the only treatment would be an oral med. and she's concerned about side effects. And she's probably thinking my older cat may be immune to ringworms.

BUUUUUT ... it doesn't seem that simple to me because of the constant risk for infection this brings to the environment. I have been cleaning and vacuuming like a crazy person and I don't think I can keep this up every single day for months or heaven forbid years! I have closed off all exterior rooms to my adult cat, since she very likely has the spores in her fur. What happens if I have the carpet steam cleaned this week, but she drops spores again next week and my vacuuming misses something?! :eek:

The risk for cross contamination, no matter how meticulous I am, is ever present. Unless I am constantly going behind my children and my older cat with a vacuum in one hand, and a bucket of bleach in the other, we can do things like track spores from one room to another, to our car, etc. Heck, I went to disinfect my vacuum cleaner as best I could and then realized that I had just dragged the cord all over the house. H-e-l-l-o ... spores can get on there too!

We do not even want to touch my older cat, and we're washing our hands to the point that they're getting irritated. My vet said that ringworm will only infect broken skin, but the Web is full of info. that all it takes is contact with an infection or the spores, especially if you have a compromised immune system, and my children often have colds, etc.

I need to understand just how serious of a problem can this really be in our situation. Is it possible that when Rascal is hopefully cured, will reintroducing him to the environment with a cat that is potentially still carrying spores going to reinfect him? How long will it take for the spores to leave her fur? Do they just hang around for the shade?

Any advice or info. or personal experience that you folks can share with me would be awesome!

I know I sound freaked out over this. I just don't want my children to get something like ringworm on their scalp because they sat on the floor and then scratched their head when I wasn't looking. :eek:

Thx! Diana

CyberKitten
November 9th, 2005, 09:07 AM
I think you are correct to be concerned and don'tforget that ringworm is also zoonotic - it can also be passed to people so be careful yourself and make sure you were gloves when caring for the area on your kitten!! You need to clean every surface /area the cats have been on. The incubation period is prob passed tho - at least in the kitten's case. If in fact he has infected the older cat, I am not sure. I'd follow your vet's advice. And monitor the older kitty!

DianaR
November 9th, 2005, 11:40 AM
This is turning me into one neurotic germaphobic mommie! ;) With the shampooing, I did originally have on gloves, but they felt so freaking uncomfortable to me, so I soaped and bleached my hands immediately afterward. But I am going to try the gloves again.

It seems that no matter what I do, there's going to be a certain amount of risk for cross contamination. Just picking up the clothes that could have spores on them to wash them is risky. I just don't know for how long this neurotic behavior will have to go on. I think it's driving my husband and children insane, and they're taking me with them. It feels like we can't hardly move in our own home. :sad:

Puppyluv
November 9th, 2005, 03:05 PM
Ohh good luck! I feel your pain! Layla (my dog) and I are just now getting over ring worm together. Be really really careful, it can spread really easily, there are a suprising number of people on this board who have had to deal with ringworm, so you should be able to find a lot of info on it if you do a search. Make sure you wash your clothing, sheets, towels, everything, every single day. Good luck

gottahavepets
November 9th, 2005, 11:11 PM
You are being very vigilant and you need to be. I got ringworm in my thumb nails from a sheep I pet once. Very painful because it destroys the nail bed and it never completely heals right. If you or your family haven't got it yet, then your crazy cleaning is paying off. Don't stop and be careful when cuddling the infected cat. I really wish I had never pet that sheep because ten years later my thumbs still hurt and the nails look deformed. Keep it up and you will all come thru un-ringed.:fingerscr

vfrohloff
November 14th, 2005, 12:13 PM
I feel for you! It seems every time I rescue a new animal it comes equipped with ringworm! The good news is that ringworm is self limiting, meaning that eventually it will run it's course and be done, and using medication speeds this process. The other bit of good news is that most people and animals will not get ringworm twice. I happen to not be one of those people, I have had it twice now. Anyway, this is the info I got from my vet, hope it helps.

xFire Angelx
November 17th, 2005, 05:31 AM
hey well i read this thread and felt the need to post
my 2 cats and i all had ringworm for a month EEEKKK it was not fun
well i can say that however horrifying the stuff on the net tells you(ive read them trust me i literally had nightmares because of it) ringworm is just like athletes foot(its a fungus a lot like it) and unfortunately ringworm fungus is all over our enviroment i spoke with my doctor about it for a good hour and a half i really squeezed his brain for information and i will tell you what he told me

well first off he told me to clean every other day and if i feel the need to scrub everything a very very deluted bleach and water mix will work
but the fungus that is ringworm is everywhere... mostly in our dirt(anyone that is a very big gardener will tell ya that since a lot of them get it on their knees from kneeling in the dirt) but its also all over everything anyways... to absolutely get rid of it you would need to burn everything you own and hope the new stuff you buy doesnt have it
also he informed me that there are many scientists out there that are trying to figure out why we dont have it on us at all times because we come in contact with it everyday
he then explained to me what it would take for me to give ringworm to another person/animal
my ringworm(i had it on my knees) would have to be full blown id have to keep it untreated for about 3 or 4 days and i would have to scratch up someones arm so they're skin is wide open and vigursiouly rub the ringworm on my knee directly on the open wound and even then its not for sure the the parson/animal would get it
my doctor also told me that he gets ringworm cases all the time and its very rare for anyone else in that household to catch it from that person
so he gave me some medicated cream(he said the pills for humans can cause major liver damage) and told me to cool it on the cleaning because washing my hands so much and getting sores from that make my chances even higher
the setting has to be just right for someone to get ringworm
my 2 cats were on the liquid medication for ringworm for 2 1/2 weeks and its gone
if there is any way for you to keep doing the topical on your cat that would be best because the oral medication can have serious long term side effects
sorry for such a long rambling post and sorry if it doesnt make any sense its 3:30am hehehe time for bed

DianaR
November 21st, 2005, 08:56 AM
I am still cleaning as best I can, but it's really hard to keep my children constantly vigilant about washing their hands and not resting their head where the cat just laid on the couch. :eek: The infected kitten's [Rascal] fur is beginning to grow back, but there are two more, smaller lesions to now contend with. We are doing the shampoos for both kittens, but four to five minutes is about all anyone can handle, so I am not sure this torture is having any real positive effect. Our other kitten [Milo] and our adult cat [Maxi] still show no outwardly signs of infection, so I am going to reintroduce Milo back into the environment with certain restrictions. And for what it is worth, I just started them on the oral med. Program.

I kind of hate to leave Rascal by himself, but if the fungus is spreading, he needs to be this way for a while. :( I hope he doesn't have to take the ringworm med.

And while I am still obsessing about the cleaning, I have come to realize that the info. on the web is likely based on worst case scenarios [hopefully anyway] and that I just need to breathe and relax and realize that somehow we will get through this.

t.pettet
November 21st, 2005, 09:55 AM
Have you notified health officials about the pet store, they should be investigated so no other animals pick this up.