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Ringworm in cats

Related Terms

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Background

  • Ringworm (or ring worm) is the common name for dermatophytosis, an infection of the skin that is highly contagious (easily spread). Ringworm may also affect hair and nails (or claws in cats). Although the common name suggests that this condition is caused by worms, it is actually caused by certain types of fungi (including yeasts) known as dermatophytes. A dermatophyte is any type of fungus that can grow on animal or human skin. Dermatophytosis became known as ringworm, because on human skin, fungal infections often have a ring-like appearance that looks like a worm.
  • In animals, ringworm usually looks like a dry, scaly patch on the skin. Ringworm is quite common in domestic animals, including farm animals, dogs, and cats. Many experts estimate that about 20% of pet dogs and 30% of pet cats have ringworm at some point. Pets with ringworm may be otherwise healthy and have mild or no symptoms. Very often, ringworm will go away without treatment. However, even if they have no symptoms, pets with ringworm can easily transmit the condition to humans and other animals.
  • Ringworm is one of the most common pet-associated human conditions, causing about half of all pet-related infections. Each year in the United States, an estimated two million cases of ringworm in humans can be traced to pets. Experts believe that ringworm can spread more easily from cats than from dogs. Because there are around 70 million pet cats (outnumbering dogs by about 10%) and 70 million more stray cats in the United States alone, it is important to control ringworm infections in cats.

Types of the Disease and Causes

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Risk Factors

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Signs and Symptoms

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Diagnosis

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Complications

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Treatment

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Integrative Therapies

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Prevention

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.