Environmental Treatment for Ringworm
· The critical role of environmental disinfection in eradication of M canis (ringworm), from an endemic household cannot be overemphasized. Environmental contamination with M canis (ringworm)spores is widespread, difficult to eliminate and routinely transported by the fur of uninfected pets. Such contamination is a major reservoir for recurrence of infection.
· M canis (ringworm) spores remain viable in the environment for up to 18 months. All nonporous surfaces should be thoroughly vacuumed and disinfected, including walls, bench tops, window sills, and transport vehicles. All heating and cooling vents should be vacuumed and disinfected. All bedding, brushes, combs, rugs, cages, and cat carriers should be vacuumed, scrubbed, and washed with hot water, detergent, and a 1:10 dilution of household bleach or destroyed.
· Carpeted areas are a problem because they cannot be effectively disinfected without damage. Therefore, it is generally recommended that contaminated carpets be discarded. Vigorous and frequent vacuuming on a daily basis or steam cleaning mechanically removes many, but not all, spores.
To kill fungal spores, the temperature of the water being forced into carpets must be at least 43C (110F) degrees. This is mostly not achievable and because of this steam cleaning may not be a reliable method of killing M canis (ringworm) unless an antifungal disinfectant such as chlorhexidine or sodium hypochlorite is added to the water. Curtains should be dry cleaned and not replaced until the infection is eradicated.
Adapted from The Veterinarian, Treating Ringworm in the Cat by Mandy Burrows DVM, DACVD