Have you ever seen ringworm in cats? Kittens and immature pets are highly susceptible to this infection because their immune system is weak. Ringworms in a cat are caused by microsporum canins, shortened as M canis. It is one of the many dermatophytes or fungi that are responsible for different types of ringworm infections. Even so, M canis is not the only threat for your cute pets. Other dermotophytes that are obtained from rats and mice (M persicolor and Trichophyton mentagrophytes) exist. Your kitten can also collect certain germs from the soil, including T terrestre, M gypseum and others.
How exactly do your little pets collect these bugs? They gather spores, which can live in the surroundings for many months without dying. When they attach to the animal’s hair and skin, they sprout and give rise to hyphae, which start the infection. According to research findings, the long haired cat breed is more vulnerable than a shorthaired species. After being infected, all cats do not necessarily experience similar changes in appearance. Some of them are severely affected and one look at them is enough to notice that they need immediate medical help.
Others do not look sick at all and they many not develop any visible symptoms. Still, a few cats develop tiny lesions that almost look harmless. All the same, a typical skin ring looks hairless and it mostly forms on the cat’s ears, paws, and head. The patches onthe hairless skin appears very rough and scaly and if severely attacked by the fungus, they may look inflamed. Just like humans, kittens may endure pruritus or itch but this depends on the degree of infection and the germs that have caused it. There are other skin diseases that can affect your pets that look just like ringworm in cats.
What this means is that you are likely to treat the wrong illness if you decide not to take the cat to its veterinary. How is the disease diagnosed? The vets do not assume that the animal has ring worm infection too. They carry out the wood’s lamp test, which is normally carried out in a very dark room. If the M.canis is plaguing the cat’s hair it will turn apple-green. Even though this test is still done, the results attained are not used to draw any conclusions. The hair obtained from them can however be useful in performing other laboratory check ups. That brings me to the next method used to diagnose ring worms in a cat – microscopic examination.
The laboratory mycologist looks for spores and other fungal elements in the extracted hair. Drawing any conclusions is still difficult as a negative result may not automatically mean that the cat has no ringworm-causing microorganism. Fungal culture is one of the highly reliable methods of diagnosis for ringworm in cats applied today. The vet collects infected hairs just next to the patches. They are then used to immunize a particular culture medium and are left to incubate in the laboratory. The report takes weeks to come out and when it does the vet recommends the correct measures to take.