COLORADO SPRINGS — 135 cats are being treated for ringworm infection or exposure.
“Ringworm causes an inflammatory reaction in the skin. So, they get patchy hair loss, scaly, dermatitis. And usually we see it most commonly on the face, the feet, and sometimes on the trunk,” said Dr. Sue Lynch, chief shelter veterinarian for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
HSPPR took in the cats from Steel City Alley Cat Coalition after it failed three straight inspections, due to unsafe conditions.
While ringworm isn’t life threatening, it is difficult to kill and is easily spread to other cats and humans, making precautions a must at HSPPR.
This light shines over the cats, highlighting any infected hairs.
“In order to enter those rooms we do require full PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, to make sure none of our volunteers working with the cats contract ringworm, and that we don’t bring anything outside of those isolation rooms. So, upon entering, they have to wear a full Tyvek suit, gloves, booties and a hairnet or a cap,” Lynch said.
The ringworm treatment process is complicated and is estimated to cost more than $200 per cat.
For two weeks of treatment, HSPPR ordered 375 Tyvek suits, 1,000 booties, 1,000 gloves, 800 bottles of lime sulfur dip, and 960 milliliters of itraconazole, an oral anti-fungal.
“We take a culture of the cat and then we dip them with lime sulfur. And the dip is twice quickly, and we use kind of a high powered garden sprayer to really get the dip really close to their skin. That takes usually two people to get the cat dipped. And then they will be on an oral anti-fungal for at least three weeks. We considered them cured once they have two consecutive negative cultures that are taken one week apart,” Lynch said.