Certificate In Anatomy and Physiology
1) Cranial distal behind left ear.
2) The size of the area is 2 cm.
3) I would ask the owner how long the area has been like this. Was it progressive? Did it suddenly appear? Any bleeding, itching, discharge? Are there any other pets at home? Do they have anything similar? Any changes to the cats diet? EDUD? Under any stress - could be self mutilating?
4) Initially I suspected Alopecia but the more I read as to the causes of Alopecia - I am leaning more towards Ringworm AKA Dermatopytosis - caused by the fungi group - Dermatophytes.
Ringworm is a fungal infection of the superficial layers of the skin, hair and nails. The fungi feed on the keratin in these areas.
Hair loss occurs when the spores infect the hair shafts - causing the infected hairs to become fragile.
5) I chose Ringworm because the other possible skin conditions had different symptoms. For example Erythema - the skin would be red - in this case it is not.
I ruled out Pyoderma - the irritation is pus-forming - this cat doesn't have that.
I ruled our Pruritus as the cat hasn't been bothered by the condition. If it was - the cat would be rubbing itself against things and scratching it for relief.
I also ruled out Seborrhea - as there isn't a discharge from the area. The discharge will be sebum and the area would be oily.
6) It is common. I also thought perhaps it could be a hormonal condition? Such as Hypothyroidism (although rare in cats), Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushings Disease) or Sertoli cell tumour. This would be investigated by the Vet with blood tests.
7) It is a Zoonotic. Ringworm can be passed on to humans from animals - speaking from experience. I was mortified as a child when my Mum told me I had caught Ringworm from the cat. I imagined this disgusting worm wriggling around inside my leg...... It took some convincing to get me to understand that there was not a worm wriggling around in my body.
8) Treatment - Topical therapy such as Lamasil or other creams and ointment. Anti-fungal oral treatments also. Treatment can take several weeks to several months. The whole course needs to be taken to be effective. Shampoos are an additional option as well as clipping the area of hair in question.
To see if the condition is Ringworm - place a Wood's lamp over the skin and coat and most cases will reveal a yellow-green fluorescence under the ultraviolet light. The most accurate way to test is to take a culture. Samples of skin and hair will be required and the results can take up to four weeks. Two consecutive negative cultures indicates successful treatment.
9) Home care and prevention. Wash hands and sanitise any surfaces that the cat has come in to contact with. Chlorine bleach and water will suffice. 1:10 to 1:100. 500 mL of chlorine bleach to 4 Litres of water.
Treat any other pets in the same household. If this is not possible - separate the pets.
Remove pet hair from floors and furniture on a daily basis. The spores will stick to the hair and may come in to contact with another pet or a human.
If possible, restrict the animals to areas that are easier to clean.
10) Follow up - further cultures and physical examinations to check progress.