Despite its name, ringworm is not a worm. It is a fungal infection of skin. So "worming" your pet will not protect against it.
Public health issues
The ringworm fungus can spread to humans, especially children.
It causes a circular red "ring-like" lesion on the skin surface (hence the name).
If you suspect a ringworm lesion, see your doctor ASAP for treatment as it can be very difficult to remove if it gets into the scalp. Localised lesions in humans are usually treated with an ointment containing Miconazole e.g. Daktarin
Ringworm spreads from pet to pet either by direct contact, or by sharing infected bedding.
Ringworm skin lesions look like circular areas of hair loss. They can appear anywhere on the body. Favourite sites are the face and toes.
A vet can run several tests to diagnose ringworm.
- Approx. 70% of ringworm lesion glow yellow-green under an ultra violet (UV) light
- As skin scrape may reveal ringworm fungal elements when viewed under the microscope (see images below)
- If there is no result with the UV light, a culture of the suspect hairs is made
- All infected and in-contact animals need to be treated
- Long haired pets need to be clipped
- All bedding should be removed as it may contain infected hairs
- Use Malaseb or Imaverol shampoo (out of production at the moment) at least once a week
- Traditional therapy involves giving a oral drug called Griseofulvin
However, it is not without slight risk of causing dry eye, a condition where the eyelid glands stop making tears
- Newer anti-fungal drugs include Ketoconazole which vets have to have made up by a compounding pharmacist
- Program paste given orally is very effective at killing ringworm in cats. The dose for cats is approx. 100mg/kg repeated 2-3 weeks later.