Ringworm in cats: signs, diagnosis, and treatment

Ringworm in cats: signs, diagnosis, and treatment

Ringworm in cats

Dermatophytosis is a fungal infection affecting a cat’s skin, hair, and/or nails. Also known as ringworm in cats, it is the most common contagious skin infection in cats. This can also be passed on to humans. The culprits for this infection are several parasites. The most common are Microsporum Canis Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Microsporum gypseum (Commonly Known as Ringworm).

Ringworm in cats is largely diagnosed in kittens and young cats more often than in adults. Let’s take a look at some of the signs of this infection.

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Symptoms of Ringworm in cats

Your cat will catch this infection in places where there are a lot of animals, poor quarantine conditions, poor nutrition, and poor management techniques.

The most common symptom is a collection of dead cells on the skin. This is manifested in the form of dandruff, erythema, pruritus (itching), and alopecia (hair loss). Hair loss is very easily identified in cats as it usually forms a circular patch.

There are some cases in which cats are asymptomatic. These cats are considered inapparent carriers. They show no sign of infection but, since they still carry the infectious agent, they can pass it on to other animals and humans.

If you suspect that your cat is infected, usually the first sign is heavy hair loss and you could even find little wads of hair around the house.


Ringworm in cats cannot be accurately diagnosed by just looking at the lesion. One testing method involves a special black light called a Wood’s lamp. The most used methods by veterinarians are usually collecting a sample of the skin and observe through the microscope, a fungal culture, or even a skin biopsy.


In the case of short-haired cats, the treatment is a topical antifungal. An Elizabethan collar will be needed when adding topical creams. Quarantine is required during the time of the treatment.

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