Case File

Kitten Trouble and make it a double! A Case Story

by Alex Sousa - MRCVS Veterinary Surgeon

4-month-old kittens, Pip and Percy had been with their new owners for about 1 month when a little lesion was spotted on Pip’s ear. Right at the tip of the ear, a little circular shaped area with no hair and a rim of red skin was visible and seemed to be growing. Interestingly Percy soon followed suit, with a similar lesion in the same spot on the same ear.



Both kittens were perfectly healthy otherwise and were not itchy on their lesions or the rest of their body. It seemed very suspiciously like a Ringworm infestation, which despite the name is not a worm at all, but a type of fungus called a dermatophyte, the most common among cats being Microsporum Canis. A hair pluck test was conducted for fungal culture, this was left to incubate for 1-2 weeks, and confirmed our diagnosis as fungal in origin, by turning a lovely red colour. On microscopy of the sample highly suspicious looking fungi were also seen.



Kittens can become infected with Ringworm by direct contact with infected animals, furniture, clothing, or tools/toys, particularly if their skin is already scratched or irritated. The fungal spores are quite persistent and can survive in the environment for around 18months. Whether or not an animal develops symptoms depends a great deal on the animal’s general health and immune system. Because of this, young cats under 1 year of age, like Pip and Percy, are more susceptible to it.

The ringworm fungus can also infect humans and cause a rash to appear anywhere on the body. Luckily, despite being quite persistent, ringworm is highly treatable in both humans and pets. Treatment usually involves a combination of topical therapies (creams, ointments, and shampoos) but can also include oral therapy (tablets or liquid medications). For treatment to be successful it is very important that all environmental contamination is eliminated as well, so disinfecting and treating the environment repeatedly is imperative.

Percy and Pip were started on a regimen including an antifungal shampoo twice weekly (which they did not greatly appreciate) and application of an antifungal cream twice daily, as well as the aforementioned environmental disinfection. They have both recovered from the infection completely and have since been to the practice for their vaccinations and neutering and are doing great!