We know that ringworm is a zoonotic disease. When we discuss zoonotic diseases we almost invariably refer to the transmission of a disease from animals to us. In other words, we are referring to the transmission of a disease between different species and in the case of ringworm we are talking about transmission from a nonhuman animal to a human.
But, of course, zoonosis also applies to the transmission of diseases from the human animal to animals. Sometimes I think we forget that because humans don’t like to think of themselves as a species of animal.
Because ringworm can be transmitted from a person to a cat it makes me wonder whether, in cat shelters, the spread of ringworm, which as I understand it is quite a concerning problem, occurs because employees at the shelter pickup the ringworm from a cat and then transmit it to another cat as a vector or carrier of the disease.
I have not stumbled upon a discussion about this possibility on the Internet, which is why I am writing this short article.
I have ringworm on my right, lower leg (see picture above). I have had ringworm on my legs ever since Charlie, my late boy cat, came into my life. I always thought that he gave it to me when he rubbed against my legs in the morning when I fed him.
However, it is also quite possible that I might have given it to him having picked up the disease from someone else or another animal.
Ringworm is highly contagious and extremely difficult to eradicate in shelter facilities. The two go together by which I mean that where a disease is highly contagious, it will automatically be difficult to eradicate in a closed facilities like a cat shelter.
From my experience, too, it is difficult to get rid of in a cat. Other people may have had other experiences but my experience comes from my veterinarian who indicated to me that it will be difficult to eradicate ringworm from Charlie and it wasn’t worth the effort. It can be quite difficult to diagnose as well because the symptoms are not always obvious.
I wonder whether it has occurred to anybody else that shelter workers might be helping to spread ringworm throughout the cats in their care? Obviously this is happening inadvertently and it would seem very difficult to avoid it, but if people agree that it is a problem in cat shelters, does management take steps to minimise the spread of this irritating disease?
For the sake of clarity, and I’m sure you are aware of this, ringworm is simply a fungal infection which causes skin inflammation and blistering in the form of a ring or horseshoe, hence its name.
For people, the treatment is to apply a broad based, topical antifungal cream.