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Ringworm in cats

Ringworm in cats is caused by ringworm fungi (dermatophytes) that grow in the cat's hair follicles. Here you can read more about common symptoms and how they are treated.
Ringworm in cats

The symptoms of ringworm are usually seen on your cat's head, neck, back and legs. The symptoms a cat gets varies from individual to individual.

In kittens, older cats and cats with a weakened immune system, the symptoms are usually more obvious. While other cats do not seem to suffer at all and may be asymptomatic.

Common symptoms in cats with ringworm

  • Hair loss
  • Round bald spots in the fur
  • Dandruff and flaky skin
  • Crusts and scabs on the skin
  • Redness and sores in the skin
  • Itching and eczema

How is ringworm in cats treated?

Because ringworm is highly contagious to both animals and humans, you should contact your vet if you suspect that your cat is infected. Cats being treated for ringworm are treated with an antifungal agent often combined with shampoo.

Cats can be asymptomatic carriers of ringworm, so if one cat at home is infected, they all must be treated. In households where there is only one cat and which has a good immune system, the infection can heal within 1-3 months. Since humans and other animal species can be infected, a risk assessment must be made to see if the cat should be treated anyway.

How are cats infected with ringworm?

New infection can, for example, come from a new cat in the home, sharing hairbrushes and more. Asymptomatic cats often spread the infection and a single asymptomatic cat can infect several other cats.

Fungal spores are released into the environment where they can live for months, so cats can become infected again and again despite treatment.

Careful decontamination after ringworm in cats

Fungal spores can live in the environment for months to years. So, it is especially important to thoroughly clean the environment if one or more cats are affected by ringworm.

The fungal spores have a long lifespan and can be difficult to remove, so if you ignore it, you risk the infection returning, 

Ringworm in cats can infect humans

Ringworm is a zoonosis, which means that the disease can be transmitted from animals to humans. In children, elderly people and those with a weakened immune system, the skin problems caused by the disease can be severe.

Contact a doctor if you suspect that you, or anyone at home, has been infected with ringworm.


SVA - The Norwegian Veterinary Medical Institute

Read more about ringworm in cats on SVA's website

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