Summer 2013 Magazine

Help for Ringworm

Ringworm is a highly treatable skin condition that is most common in kittens, older cats or long-haired cats. It is easy to spot ringworm's patchy, circular areas of hair loss with central red rings. The problem is that ringworm spreads quickly in shelter conditions or in any overcrowded environment. It can be spread quite rapidly to other animals in a household or to humans.

If you think your cat has ringworm take it to the vet immediately to confirm the diagnosis and get it started on medication. The cat needs to be quarantined in a room away from other animals and you need to thoroughly wash your hands after you touch an infected cat.

All of this is easy to do if the cat is in a home but ringworm is a major reason that shelter cats are euthanized. Many shelters just don't have the facilities to quarantine the infected cats and they can't risk spreading the infection throughout the shelter.

Desiree Triste-Aragon from Best Friends has started a program to ensure that every cat who enters the City shelter with ringworm is immediately pulled out of the shelter and placed in a foster home until the disease is cured.

"We just started this project in May and have taken 15 cats from the shelter. It isn't a huge number but if they'd stayed in the shelter, they would have been euthanized. It's really difficult to see these cats killed when it is such a curable disease," Triste-Aragon said.

Saving these cats is directly related to how many people are willing to foster cats with ringworm. As the cats are pulled from the shelter, veterinarians prescribe the medication needed to cure the infection. The shelter pays for the medication.

If you have a room in your house that can be used for quarantine and you are willing to treat ringworm - infected cats, please let Desiree Triste-Aragon know so she can add your name to the signup list. You may not be called upon to do this, but if you are, you will know that you definitely have saved a life.

Call Desiree at 505-440-3441 or email her at

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