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Ringworm troubles - any advise?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
So I just got back from the vet and it looks like we have ringworm. I've never had this stuff before and the vet has really scared me about it.

First off all 26 are getting Program tonight after their dinner with is what she said we should use. Has anyone ever used this? Is it really the best option (cost/effective). Then she starts in on cleaning or decontaminating the house. I'm supposed to throw out all of the things they sleep on. Their toys, beds, sheets, towels, scratching posts and bleach everything else. But what about my bed, the couch, curtains,etc??? She said i need to toss all of my bedding for my people beds .Thats a lot of bedding. I know its just stuff but I like my bedding and it was expensive (queen sized). What about clothes? She said that would be okay to keep but the cats have slept on that too if it was on the ground or while I was folding it after washing it. How do you clean hardwood floors? Isnt bleach bad for them? When I asked about the couch and lounge chairs and that i couldnt just toss them she said to just put sheets over them and at the end of the month toss those. What good does that do?

Basically I am just freaking out. I have had so many terrible things happen this last month and honestly just dont know what to do. any advise would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 17
Oh my favorite, ringworm. First let me say that I've only got 3 cats, so it's much easier to contain. Basicly the more cats the more chance to spread it. The advice your vet gave sounds pretty much like what my vet said, only I was told to wash all my bedding. Also, my vet gave me an article which recommended things that couldn't be bleached should be vacumed daily, with a cheap vaccum cleaner that could be thrown away later. I'll be honest I didn't do everything I was told, but a lot of it. When I first had a cat with it I had 2 cats, one with it & the other one has never had it. It got better for a month or so then it came back. Then it was gone for nearly a year, when the third cat I got turned up with it. Unfortunatly this can be a difficult thing to get rid of. To be perfectly honest I didn't do all the things I was told to the 2nd & 3rd times, because lets face it I'm not made of money or time. However, I'm afraid with the number you have, it's going to be necessary. I don't know what your vet told you, but ring worm is a fungus that gives off spores. Those spores can lay dormant for a while (I forget how long) & then when an animal (especially the young & the very old) come in contact with a spore they get ringworm. I was given a differnt medication, but it was expensive & not practicle for a large number of cats. I wish you the best of luck ringworm is no fun.
post #3 of 17
ringworm is basically a fungal skin infection. any antifungal will help it - even those sold for jock itch, vaginal yeast infections or althlete's foot. i'm surprised she gave you Program - i thought that was for fleas? my vet gave me an antifungal, altho he said the vagisil i was using was also fine. & i don't see why you can't just wash everything possible in hot water! i didn't do ANY of that stuff, & mine & the cats ringworm cleared up just fine!
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
thanks guys. i'm really trying not to freak out here but it just seems like an impossible battle. i cant remember exactly what she said about using program (you are right it is for fleas) something like it works on a cellular level and that it will break down the cell walls and slow down the infection. i understand about cleaning everything with bleach and am willing to do that but throwing out all my bedding and towels scratching posts, etc? wouldnt bleaching those do the trick? i would think washing all of my clothes and bedding would be enough. am i wrong in thinking that? i know with the numbers i have its going to be hard but i dont have the means to throw out all my stuff and start over.

i read on one site that you could do a fungal fumigation of the house if you have a cattery, or multiple cats like i do. does anyone know more about this? its probably pretty expensive too but if that would work and kill the spores i would much rather do something like that. thanks again for the advise!
post #5 of 17
I've known people that have used topical antifungal to treat ringworm, but my warning would be if, like my cats, your cats have it around the eye DON'T use an over the counter topical treatment. If it gets in their eyes at all it will cause cataracs.
post #6 of 17
When my vet suggested Program for my cats' persistent ringworm, I gave him a puzzled look too! But Program finally helped stop a ringworm outbreak we'd been fighting off & on in my cats for years. My cats can't tolerate traditional antifungal drugs, but Program worked well for them, with no side effects, and was much more affordable.
post #7 of 17
You can just bleach your bedding and a very mild bleach solution is needed for every thing else. 1/4c bleach to a gallon of water can be used to wipe down floors and furniture. This can be used to wipe down counters, cabinates, window sills, door frames, and any other surface you can think of.

This same dilution can be used to shampoo the carpet and furniture after testing it in a spot on the back to make sure it won't damage the pattern/fabric.

My vet gives my cats the dog program in the white box. One full tablet crushed in a treat food and a dash of catnip per month will keep them from becoming reinfected.

Lambisil athletes foot cream is recommended for the leisons and a lyme sulpher dip to kill the spores in the fur once a week for the first two weeks then again in 2 weeks. Shaving the fur from the leisons and around them will make them easier to treat.

This should clear up even the most stubborn spores.
post #8 of 17
My mom said that either Hoshi or BabyGirl gave her a ringworm...can cats give humans ringwroms?
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
yep you can get ringworm from a cat. not something i want to experience i dont think.

thanks for the info everyone. i'm thinking its really not as bad as the vet is trying to make it sound. she left a message last night that i need to have my whole ventilation (sp?) system professionally cleaned. that seems a bit over the top to me. has anyone had this done when they were taking on ringworm?
post #10 of 17
i didn't do ANY of this major cleaning stuff - just treated the spots on me & the cats! i'm starting to think this chick gets some kind of kickback! (just kidding) are your kitties seriously covered in ringworm? Pixel just had it on the edge of one ear, & i had 1 spot on my hip. treated those, they went away, no others appeared! maybe your infestation is really major, & that's why she's saying to do all this stuff.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
No it doesnt seem major at all. The kitty I took in had two spots maybe the size of a dime on each ear and then a smaller spot on her back that looks like she had just been scratching too much. Not all of the cats have anything. Maybe 7 or 8 of them and then its just a spot on an ear or a nose and then one has 2 toes with no hair. It has cleared up on its own on two of them. One lost all the hair on his ear but its all back now and one had a patch of hair over his eye disappear. Its not all back yet but you can see the hair coming up.

I dont know why she is being so extreme about it all. everyone i've talked to says that it sounds like more than needed. so i'm doing the program treatment on everyone (pray for me. thats 26 cats that arent going to be too pleased with their mom) and then in 2 weeks i will do the major clean of everything. she said that is how long it will take the meds to kick in and that cleaning can wait till then.

also one last question (i think) i am going to use the bleach dilution on things but for colored clothes and bedding does the color safe bleach work the same as regular bleach? just wondering. thanks again everyone
post #12 of 17
should work just as well... i personally think just washing in hot/warm water would probably work.
post #13 of 17
We have it here, or I should say I have it here. The cats have not gotten it and I tend to think a friend who thought he had "sorisicies"(sp) (dry skin) brought it into the house. When we saw what he was scratching at we instantly knew he had ringworm So far the cats are fine as far as we can see, but I get a spot once in awhile and treat it with Lamisil. It seems to clear it up alot quicker then what the directions say so I cant really complain. Also if you catch it early its rather easy to get rid of. As soon as you see an infected hair folicil or red circle starting, put the cream on it two to three times a day (provided the cats wont lick it off, if its on you then not a problem) after you shower and that should clear it up quickly.

As for the bleaching.. I havnt bleached as my girlfriend hates the smell of it, but I have started to vaccume more and change the sheets more etc etc. If it does not go away fully after this last little flare up of it I will have to start using bleach in hopes it will kill it. Running a cycle of wash with bleach is not a bad idea either as for all you know it can be hanging out in your washing machine partying waiting till the next time you do a load. Its extreamly hard to get rid of and spreads by dead skin flakes also. We seem to be free of it for the moment, but I dread the day my finger touches some tiny speck of dead skin infected with it and get it again or it just comes back due to stress or whatever. It is not a fun thing to have because of the stigma associated with it even though you can be a very clean person and still get it from friends, neighboors or animal buddies.

Best of luck combating this problem, with 26 cats it sounds like you will defintly have your hands full and might consider a bleach wipe down on a daily basis for any areas dust and bacteria might drift to from scratching cats as well as all the bedding and as much of the furnature you can get to.
post #14 of 17
If it becomes a recurring problem, then yes, cleaning of ductwork is needed.

Ringworm is a tricky thing. I got it from the cats at the shelter, and from being careful (stripping down to my skivies when I walked in the door, washing any clothes and jackets I wore to the shelter, keeping my shoes out side) my house cats never got it. I know of people who have had only one cat out of many who had it, and with only treating that one cat they never had a reoccurance. I've also seen what happens at a no-cage shelter that somehow had ringworm enter the building. The entire building might have to go into quarentine, and I won't even go into how much cleaning and having the ductwork torn apart and steralized would cost.

The best thing you can do is be careful. You might want to invest in a product called Virkon-S. It's a broad spectrum disinfectant that is sold in powdered form at feed stores and on the internet. (It'll kill just about any virus, bacteria, microbe, and fungus. We use it at the shelter where I volunteer, and I've heard that some hospitals use it, too.) It's extremely safe to use around animals, and if left on a surface for 10 minutes will kill the ringworm fungus. The stuff is pricy, but I doubt it would ruin carpets or fabrics like bleach could. We also use a virkon solution to treat the cats who have ringworm or have come into contact with it. Dip the cat, squeegy it off with your hands, and let it sit in a cage for 10 minutes before rinsing it off. (This is going to be something you need to talk to your vet about. I've never felt too comfortable with doing this, even though the shelter vets say it's okay. They've been wrong on too many things in the past.)

Otherwise, hot water and bleach will work the best. (Again, when I had it and was exposed to it constantly, all I did was wash my clothes in super hot water, and my boys never got it. Don't know if that was luck or not.)

You may want to consider keeping the cats that have ringworm separated from the others until it clears up, and be careful not to cross-contaminate areas. Just because they don't have it now doesn't mean they can't get it in a week or two.
post #15 of 17
I just finished a ringworm treatment on my 4 cats about 3 weeks ago. I to freaked out when Bakker was diagnosed. My vet put all cats on grisfulven (sp?) a horribly expensive antifungal. I wiped all hard surfaces down with bleach water and luckily I have a front loading washer with a sanitize cycle that I did lots of laundry (w/regular beach-color safe doesn't have same ingredient). I shut 2 bedroom off after cleaning (no I didn't shampoo carpets). Two of the other cats also got ringworm-and of course myself & my spouse which we treated w/Lamisil-following direction we bought the pump spray. It seems to be gone for now!!
post #16 of 17
Originally Posted by Rang_27
I've known people that have used topical antifungal to treat ringworm, but my warning would be if, like my cats, your cats have it around the eye DON'T use an over the counter topical treatment. If it gets in their eyes at all it will cause cataracs.
OMG!! Can you tell me how to treat ringworms around the eyes?? I treat my cats with Lamisil, all 13 of them are suffering from different degrees of ringworm, and some of them have ringworm lesions around the eyes. Is the cataract temporary or permanent? Please advise!

Some of my cats have red areas on their ears (going in the canal). Is this normal stuff? I wasn't at the vet when my mom got them there, and the vet told me it's just dirt, but it's not- because before they got ringworm, they have clear ear canals. Is this another symptom?

How does ringworm clear up with Lamisil? Does it usually "scale" before healing? Before, I tried a french animal-grade anti-fungal ointment called Oribiotic and it healed quite well- no scaling, and areas grew fur again. How long should I be applying Lamisil? For 1 month? Would it be wise to give griseofulvin along with topical treatments?

Geez, URI & ringworm (usually) aren't fatal but hard to treat!!!
post #17 of 17
I was just reading some of the responses and it seems some people are a bit uninformed so I thought I'd write. Not to scare you but your vet was right. Ringworm as a fungus is almost impossible to kill and the spores can live for years in your house which is why you must do everything you can to attack it. In particular if you have so many cats. The reason Program is suggested (it's not really approved for ringworm but many vets use it) for ringworm in based on a study by 2 vets in Israel that while testing Program found their patients had little or no ringworm for 2 years during the study by accident. Since it has no side effects it is used as an adjunct to other therapy. You must do everything to control spores in your household to the extent you can. It is one of the most difficult to kill and only Formaldehyde and straight bleach are even thought to possibly work both of which are not options. So this is what I suggest as I've been through it before and am currently dealing with a feral kitten I found hit by a car. She is recovering from surgeries but now has full blown rw. This is what I have learned in the past experiences:
Vaccum as much as possible then throw out the bag.
Wash all hard surfaces in mild bleach (1 part bleach to 10 parts water)
If you have access to a steam cleaner like the portable models they sell on home shopping etc, use it on every hard and soft surface you beds,sofas etc.
Wash all bedding including yours in HOT water with bleach as much as possible. A couple times a week at least. Also you must use REAL bleach as color safe bleach is not bleach at all so not effective. Just be careful when adding bleach to your washload. Dilute it first then you should be fine.
Bath the cats in a shampoo Malaseb (which contains the only antifungal in shampoo) leaving it on 10 minutes before rinsing.
Use Lamisil cream on lesions (but be careful as this is toxic to the liver and can build up)
The only real treatment is an oral pill Grisefulvin however it is extremely toxic to the liver in cats and can lead to liver cancer later on so even with a severe rw I have never used it.
Give the largest size Program 1/2 pill once then again in 2 weeks to every cat
Keep any infected cats separate and wear gloves when treating them
Lime sulfur dips are also helpful but very messy and must dry on the cats which is a tedious process with many cats.
The main thing is consistent effort which will be exhausting but worth it believe me. You do not want to let this get a strong footing in your house or you will have reinfected cats over and over. Some cats clear it within weeks but some do not and you won't know until it is upon you. So be as aggressive as you can. good luck
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