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Help! Is black dots on a bald spot always ringworm?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My cat is 9. We moved from tennessee to California two weeks ago and my two cats were in boarding for 6 days prior and were groomed the day the moved into the CA house. Last week I noticed a pink bald spot on his neck and thought the kitten might have ripped out his hair. I decided to keep an eye on it. I noticed the kittens fur was looking a bit thin on her neck so then I thought they were over grooming from the stress of the move. THEN today I noticed black dots on his bald spot. I didn't see them before so that is new. They both got advantage on August 1st, the first day of boarding, which isn't a new medication for them. I took them both to the vet and the vet gave them antibiotic shots, did a skin scraping that he said was negative for mites, and black light didn't show any fungus. Now we are waiting for the ringworm test to come back and I'm totally freaking out. We all sleep in a bed together and we only have one room because we are crashing in my parents' house so I can't quarantine them and all of our essential and irreplaceable belongings aren't this room, too. I'll post pics.
post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 14

hmmm... I am not sure, but I am hoping someone more versed in this can advise you...

 

Someone will come on soon.. I promise...

 

just hang on. Do you possibly have access to a Vet in your new area? It may help out, in the long run; especially if you are all sleeping in the same bed...

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
I took them to the vet but now we are waiting on the results. I'm really hoping it's not fungal and they're just adjusting to the new climate or something because 2 years of battling spores freaks me out.
post #6 of 14

I kind of know how you feel @racheljc , with my previous cat she suddenly developed a small bald spot on the back of her neck / top of her shoulder blades.  It was almost a perfect circle and little black specks in it.  I couldn't get her to the vet fast enough (and I am ashamed to say that being me I was really squeamish about touching her)....     The vet concluded it was 'catastrophic furloss' as a reaction to the annual booster vaccination she had had a week or so before - even though she had never reacted to it before

 

While the patches on cat skin are not always round, I can see why ringworm was not the first thing your vet thought of as the skin does not look inflamed or flakey at all (which is common for ringworm).  Yes, wait for the tests to come back, but from the moves and changes you taok about your cats having just gone through it is as much, or more likely that this is a stress reaction or perhaps reaction to some grooming /environmental product which has been used (maybe even when they were boarding).  Possibly even the Advantage, who knows, your cat might have become more sensitive to something due to recent stresses or some carrier ingredient changed in the product manufacture.  

 

My fingers crossed for you.   Sooner your stress levels go down the happier and more relaxed your cats will be in their new home.  :vibes:

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
@MServant, yes I feel that way towards them right now. I'm sleeping on a couch and am living roomless. They're living it up in a single bedroom with a queen bed. They were happy to see me this morning and want to head bump me but in like agh! I cannot get ringworm right now! I'm looking for a job and don't want to show up to an interview with a patch on my head or something. It has been very stressful - "welcome to CA, here's some ringworm!" I hope it's not fungal but when I google cat bald black dots, something called black dot ringworm pops up all over.
post #8 of 14
You have done a blacklight test - ringworm usually shines out under that, so it may well not be that. The black spots couldn't just be hair ends as hair grows back? Even light coloured hair could show up dark for a day or two.
post #9 of 14

Blacklight (Woods lamp) exams only show positive for ringworm about 40-50% of the time. Has the vet done a culture? We did those automatically with any suspect lesion, regardless of what the Woods lamp showed. The culture was something we did in-house, but it took a couple of weeks. We collected some hair from in and around the lesions and placed it in a special bottle that contained some test medium. Then we set it in a dark cabinet, and checked it every day for any color change to the medium or any sort of 'fuzzy growth". After a period of time (up to 3 weeks, or sooner if we had a test reaction), we looked under the microscope. We would POSITIVELY identify the fungus, if any-- and not all 'growth" is actually ringworm.There are harmless fungi and other microorganisms that live on every creature's skin, which are not ringworm, but these can also grow in the test bottle. That's why we microscoped any 'fuzz' that showed up. 

 

This is THE MOST certain way to accurately diagnose ringworm. But it can take as long as 3 weeks to get a clear and accurate result. I went back and skimmed your post again. It sounds like that's what you are waiting on.

 

But those black dots to me look like comedomes... 'blackheads'. Does your kitty itch and chew a lot? Comedomes frequently happen if there is some skin trauma, like chewing or scratching from fleas, an allergy, etc. A deeper infection called miliary dermatitis can cause this, too. Basically, comedomes are caused by numerous skin conditions but the number one cause is an allergic skin problem. You say you just moved to a new area... is it possible that your kitty might be allergic or sensitive to something in the new environment? Allergic conditions can definitely cause them, and allergies can be due to fleas, pollen, food, grasses, almost anything.

 

That to me, though, doesn't look like classic ringworm, but heck, I've been fooled before. Even had a Persian kitten who came to our home with BAD ringworm-- confirmed with culture. It took months, it seemed, to clear her up. She was also tiny, too small for most of the usual medicines, so we went to an expensive liquid in human form that we could pull up in a small enough dose for her. It worked-- but it took just one day less than forever to clear her up. And THAT was with medicine, medicated shampoo, clipping the fur and applying topicals to areas where she couldn't lick... what an ordeal! But it did not look like ringworm on her at first, until my husband started breaking out with it (I don't tend to break with it much, and I was always washing hands and practicing sanitary habits that I did every day as a tech so I did not catch it.)

 

I would see what the fungal test holds and practice GOOD sanitation until you know for sure. But I really don't think it's ringworm (but I could be fooled!)

 

~Mackie

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MackieMac View Post

Blacklight (Woods lamp) exams only show positive for ringworm about 40-50% of the time. Has the vet done a culture? We did those automatically with any suspect lesion, regardless of what the Woods lamp showed. The culture was something we did in-house, but it took a couple of weeks. We collected some hair from in and around the lesions and placed it in a special bottle that contained some test medium. Then we set it in a dark cabinet, and checked it every day for any color change to the medium or any sort of 'fuzzy growth". After a period of time (up to 3 weeks, or sooner if we had a test reaction), we looked under the microscope. We would POSITIVELY identify the fungus, if any-- and not all 'growth" is actually ringworm.There are harmless fungi and other microorganisms that live on every creature's skin, which are not ringworm, but these can also grow in the test bottle. That's why we microscoped any 'fuzz' that showed up. 

This is THE MOST certain way to accurately diagnose ringworm. But it can take as long as 3 weeks to get a clear and accurate result. I went back and skimmed your post again. It sounds like that's what you are waiting on.

But those black dots to me look like comedomes... 'blackheads'. Does your kitty itch and chew a lot? Comedomes frequently happen if there is some skin trauma, like chewing or scratching from fleas, an allergy, etc. A deeper infection called miliary dermatitis can cause this, too. Basically, comedomes are caused by numerous skin conditions but the number one cause is an allergic skin problem. You say you just moved to a new area... is it possible that your kitty might be allergic or sensitive to something in the new environment? Allergic conditions can definitely cause them, and allergies can be due to fleas, pollen, food, grasses, almost anything.

That to me, though, doesn't look like classic ringworm, but heck, I've been fooled before. Even had a Persian kitten who came to our home with BAD ringworm-- confirmed with culture. It took months, it seemed, to clear her up. She was also tiny, too small for most of the usual medicines, so we went to an expensive liquid in human form that we could pull up in a small enough dose for her. It worked-- but it took just one day less than forever to clear her up. And THAT was with medicine, medicated shampoo, clipping the fur and applying topicals to areas where she couldn't lick... what an ordeal! But it did not look like ringworm on her at first, until my husband started breaking out with it (I don't tend to break with it much, and I was always washing hands and practicing sanitary habits that I did every day as a tech so I did not catch it.)

I would see what the fungal test holds and practice GOOD sanitation until you know for sure. But I really don't think it's ringworm (but I could be fooled!)

~Mackie

I did think of blackheads first when he said no mites on the skin scraping but the vet said when squeezed there would be discharge and his are not doing that. I am also worried that It's ringworm or fungal because Bella, my Russian Blue, is shedding a lot. I can't find any bald spots because she's so plush but there are places where I can see skin and wasn't able to before and her ears don't have their fuzz anymore, which to me reads hair loss. Coukd they both be having an allergic reaction or does that seem unlikely? My other thought was dust mites. The place we are staying at was pretty dusty. I'm doing my best to keep it clean but I have a concussion so for about a week I was pretty useless. Do dust mites show up on a skin scraping? When they scratch their necks with their hind legs, fur just sheds in clumps. I had thought it was going from a house with AC to a house that's always 80-90 degrees until I saw those dots. We are (impatiently) waiting for the results of the ringworm test. 2 weeks seems like forever right now. Poor cats. I just want to hug them... But I don't want ringworm.
post #11 of 14

Comedones don't always have discharge, because sometimes, they're actually tiny scabs that are dry, but still caught up in the skin pores. If the cause is from an allergy or other inflammation, and not from a frank infection, there might not be any discharge. Ever had blackheads on your face or elsewhere that didn't have an actual pimple? That's what these 'cat comedones' are sort of like... those dark things that aren't pimply.

 

But I guess that all of this is an answer to your headline question, "Is black dots on a bald spot always ringworm?" So the short and sweet answer is, "No, black spots in a bald spot is NOT always ringworm." However, you are doing the right thing by testing for it and taking precautions, as frustrating as they may be. Hang in there and please keep us posted.

 

~Mackie

post #12 of 14

Both cats could be shedding because of the stress of the move, or seasonal.  It doesn't need to be mite related.

 

It's a hard one, knowing how I felt about my poor little Pal when I thought she had ringworm, but your stress and anxiety, and changes in behaviour will increase your cats' anxiety too.  Do try to keep in contact and not withdraw.  Pampering is always good.  Ringworm does not always infect others, and it is mostly to younger children and those with lower immunte systems just like other types of infections spreading.  

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

This was my original post: http://www.thecatsite.com/t/325114/help-is-black-dots-on-a-bald-spot-always-ringworm

 

So 2 weeks have finally passed (on Sunday) and the vet said the ringworm/fungal test was negative. He said it would be highly unlikely for it to be ringworm considering the black light and reactive 2 week long test were both negative. HOWEVER, I've been putting the 1% miconazole topical he gave me on the neck and the black dots are gone and the hair looks to be a bit healthier so I'm wondering if it's possible it is fungal still because the ointment is helping or if it's just getting better in general because they've been staying put and are less stressed and a couple of weeks have passed. 

 

I am still noticing A LOT of both gray (from Bella) and orange (from Charlie) clumps on the bed every day. We've had general shedding from the cats and thats normal but not big clumps like these for the past few weeks. The mites test was negative but he said we could do another 3-4 weeks after the original mite skin scraping test to double check if I wanted. Do you think that's worth it or should I just let it be and keep an eye out for new bald patches? Is there something I should be asking to be tested in addition to the tests we've already done?

 

I'm waiting for him to poop to send it in for the fecal exam. Bella has pooped and I'm hoping he'll poop by 7am so I can drive it in straight away.

 

Thanks!

post #14 of 14

I am thinking the black dots could have been the hair roots like JennyR suggested earlier, and that they will have gone as the hair started to grow back.   Hopefully this is the case, and the molting starts to reduce.   

 

For me, I think I would hold back on more tests or anything unless you saw more shedding and bald patches because if it has been stress related with the move, any tests would most likely prolong the stress.

 

Lots of positive thoughts for you that they are both healthy, and settling well in their new home.   :vibes:

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