Contrary to its infamous name, ringworm isn’t actually a worm at all, nor is it even caused by worms! It’s actually a fungal infection similar to Athlete’s Foot that affects the skin and hair. The name is characterized by the appearance of a round, red, and raised “ring” of inflammatory lesions. While ringworm is common in all shelters, we see a high number of cases involving kittens because their immune systems are weaker than those of full-grown cats. Be sure to keep an eye out for any of the following signs in your cat or dog:
- Ring-like red rashes
- Scaly, itchy, and inflamed skin
- Itchy scalp
- Patchy hair loss
Immediately consult your veterinarian if you notice these symptoms. As part of our commitment to care, animals adopted from the SF SPCA who test positive for ringworm can receive approved treatment at our hospitals free of charge.
How is it treated?
- 6–8 weeks of anti-fungal medications, weekly medicated baths, and time in isolation
- Click here to read detailed instructions for at-home care
At the SF SPCA, we save more than 300 animals with ringworm every year, thanks to our SPORE program (Shelters Preventing Outbreaks of Ringworm through Education). Since 2013, SF SPCA Shelter Medicine Outreach Programs Manager and SPORE program developer Laura Mullen, CAWA, has been teaching other shelters how to better detect, treat, and manage ringworm.