Ringworm: One of those words you hear and immediately cringe — and why wouldn’t you? The idea of a “worm” appearing in your skin is enough to make anyone squirm; but here at APA!, we know it’s not something to get worked up about. In fact, it’s not even a worm at all!
Ringworm is a harmless fungus that can be treated with medication, and is as serious as athlete’s foot is in humans. Therefore, we firmly hold the belief that cats with ringworm have all the potential to be highly adoptable pets given the right treatment and education to potential adopters. From this belief came to life our ringworm program, which rescues cats and kittens every single day that otherwise wouldn’t have that chance at life simply because they have ringworm.
Our Ringworm Adoption Center opened in 2010 and treats around 250-300 kittens and cats per year, with even more being treated through our foster system! We take ringworm-positive cats from all over Central Texas because we know how treatable the disease is. It’s a simple, non-fatal fungus that can be cured within a couple of months; but, the reality is that having ringworm often equals a death sentence at most other shelters.
One of the goals of this specialized program is to break down the stigma surrounding ringworm and educate others on how to best care for these precious lives. We do this by sharing our knowledge on the innovative treatment methods we use here at APA!. For example: debunking the misconception that ringworm is highly transferable to humans and that you must be fully covered up to treat the cats. The truth? Humans actually aren’t typical hosts of this fungus. Being in general good health will keep you from contracting the disease.
While this disease is one hundred percent curable, there is a process behind it. A part of this procedure includes giving the cats their lime dips. We use terbinafine and lime-sulfur dip concurrently, with attention paid to the cats’ individual concerns and health issues. Our staff doesn’t fully scrub up like people often think you have to, but instead wear rubber gloves to protect their hands.
A little insight into the lime dip process: The first step is to find a warm, well-ventilated room. Put your gloves on and pour ½ of a cup of lime dip into 1 gallon of warm water, then pour mixture into a plastic dipping tub. Scruff or gently hold the cat, and lower them into the warm lime dip solution. Next, pour the solution over the cat, or wipe against the grain of the fur with a rag or sponge. Make sure to get them completely wet (through their fur, down to their skin). If the cat is highly resistant to being given a full bath, they may be placed on a towel next to the tub and given a “sponge bath” with the solution instead. Squeeze their feet gently to extend their claws, and dip their feet. Lastly, use a cotton ball to treat the face, paying extra attention to the ears, nose, whiskers, and chin. It’s important to note the solution burns delicate mucus membranes, so be as careful as possible on the facial area, especially around the nose and eyes. If you do happen to get dip in the cat's eye, be sure to flush the eye. Repeat these steps every three days.
Watch below to see the full process in action as our Ringworm Cat Manager gives a step by step demonstration of giving a cat their treatment.
The cats and kittens in our Ringworm Adoption Center are available for adoption at any time during the course of their treatment. When an adopter or foster decides to bring a kitty with ringworm into their home, we teach them about the ringworm treatment, step-by-step. It’s our philosophy that animals heal best in a home setting; and if an adopter would ever need something or have a question, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Stop by our Ringworm Adoption Center, open every day of the week at our Town Lake location from 11:30 AM - 7 PM. The cats in there will prove to you that having ringworm doesn’t make them any less cuter – because a little fungus never hurt nobody. Find more information of our Ringworm Program here.