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Savannah cats with ringworms... HELP.....

I purchased 2 Savannah cats born March 29th. They came home to me Oct. 7th as they were sick as kittens. Oct. 10th my vet came to my home to ensure they were healthy, and found ringworms in the males ears via Woodslamp. They have been going to the vet now twice a week for antifungal baths not lime baths as Dr. wanted to be conservative till culture came back. Low and behold yesterday the 4 week culture is positive for the girl, but negative for the brother. Dr. said wants to continue growing culture for another week. Both of them have had diarrhea, now soft poop for a month and no improvement. We R trying on top of meds a GI diet. Dr. says to cut down cleaning routine as may be irritatant. So now I have an infectious disease that only bleach kills, and I am not suppose to use it but once a week. I have a bad immune system, but so far I have not got ringworms. We R isolated to one room. I have two other cats, but have done best to keep seperated. The female (not mentioning names for sake of breeder) escaped the room like four times, but didn't get far. I am so discouraged and very unhappy about this experience. I was unable to return them as no Dr. in the right mind would give me a healthy certificate to fly them back to the breeder. I feel so bad for these poor little babies as by now they should be running around the house and having a normal kitten life instead of back and forth to the vet twice a week. Anyone have any suggestions? They R so cute and sweet. I feel so bad they have to go through this.


Staff member
What were they sick with as kittens? I'm not understanding said the vet found ringworm in the male kitten but not the female and then the culture came back positive for the female and not the male?

Did you keep the kittens on the same food the breeder had them on?

What is it you are only supposed to use once a week? What type of antifungal baths were you giving the kittens...

Have you discussed this with the breeder?

Trish Allearz

Well, the good news is that adults, with a healthy immune system, have a much harder time catching ringworm- so your two adults may very well be just fine.

As far as the vet telling you to cut down on the cleaning- that makes no sense. You need to keep things clean in order to eradicate the ringworm spores or else you'll get rid of it to have it pop up again really quickly.

Plus, frankly, lyme is GROSS- but... I'd really be doing a lyme sulfur dip versus whatever your vet is doing. It's great to try different things when you have the time/ability, but due to your other two cats and your own health issues, I think aggressively getting rid of the ringworm is better for all of you.

Diet issues can be pretty normal for a new kitten going to a new home- owners change food, etc, so that may not be a huge problem (it can be- but the RW is the more prevalent issue, I would think).

Healthguard, btw, has a laundry additive you can toss in your wash to wash all of your blankets/clothes/bedding, etc, to help cut down on the chance of transmitting RW. I'd highly highly suggest it in your situation...

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I agree with Trish that Healthguard is a good additive for laundry.

I don't agree with lyme baths, they are nasty and stinky and I do not believe will add anything over the antifungal shampoo as long as the one the vet is using is something like Malaseb shampoo that contains the antifungal agent miconazole. There is no reason that you can't do the baths at home, but also there is a spray made in the same line that you can spray on lesions in between bath times that helps. Lyme dip is cheaper certainly... but anything that is done has to be sure to be done properly. The cat needs to be absolutely soaked to the skin and in the case of the shampoo the lather needs to stay on them for ten minutes (timed) before rinsing off. It pays to be hyper-careful about doing everything with ringworm to make sure it leaves your home!

Cleaning is very very important, but you should know that bleach will not kill unless on a surface for ten just wiping with bleach is not so much the answer to the cleaning question as just good physical cleaning. What you are doing is trying to remove all the fungal spores that drop out of the dead hairs of the infected cat...electrostatic cloths like Swiffer cloths are wonderful for this! Run them over every surface daily! Vacuum everyday and throw the bag away or wipe out the canister of the vacuum. Launder all pet beds as often as you can with the Healthguard additive. Go crazy cleaning their room but not necessarily crazy with cleaning agents as with just physical wiping of surfaces and washing of fabrics. And yes, keep both the kittens in a room until cleared by negative cultures, and two sequential cultures a month apart if you want to be really sure.

I would also strongly advocate adding an oral antifungal to be very sure you are clearing this from these kittens. I prefer Terbinafine (lamisil) over the more standard itraconazole or griseofulvin. It isn't as harsh on their systems but is very effective.

You mentioned the kittens were ill earlier and that is why they were older when they came to you, but don't mention WHAT they were ill with... have you tried a probiotic to see if that will help their systems get back to a healthy state?

Trish Allearz

Do you think antifungal shampoos work as fast as the lyme dip, B? Although the lyme is stinky and more caustic, it would seem to be a bit faster working (I would think) then antifungal shampoo. I was just thinking of the owner having an immune system issue- they might want this resolved quicker.

We lyme dipped and used all of the Healthguard stuff on the Selkirk Rex that came here covered in RW. I was very lucky- I had a friend foster him for a month at her house so I wouldn't risk trecking the crap into my house.

Brigitte Cowell

Staff member
I don't believe either works quicker. Both are effective at killing ringworm, just the lyme dip is "old school" in my vet's words and he says it is like cracking a nut with a sledge hammer.

The thing is, there is no quicker way really, just ways to make it more effective...and that is why you add the oral antifungal AND the insane house cleaning rituals. Ringworm really is a self-limiting infection, but if the spores are not cleaned away then it can reinfect and/or infect other cats. So both the lyme dip and the antifungal shampoos kill the fungus, but the dead hairs containing the spores will still be there and spores are more resistant to killing... and then they drop off and are on the ground, chairs, fabrics etc. That is what the bathing can also help with, the lathering of the shampoo or the sponging on of the lyme dip will remove dead hairs. Physical cleaning of the room removes more of the spores and dead hairs.


Savannah Super Cat
Ring worm has a lot to do with the cat immune system. A strong adult cat with a healthy immune system may never even have RW even if exposed to it or have it very mild. With this situation, you have kittens with multiple issues, both may be working against each other or part of the same problem- an immature and weakened immune system. I think dealing with the diarrhea first may be essential. I almost think doing nothing about the RW is about the same as treating the kittens with all the meds. I don't know if using all the medications make any difference in the infection.

I treated with oral antifungal as well as the bath, every 3 days. I am skeptical that they kittens didn't just recover on their own. T

I had it once with a small kitten that was rejected by his mother. He glowed like an alien under a black light. You have to be very radical with cleaning however, steam clean rugs or rip them out. As a fungus, it is easily carried everywhere.

Your adult cats may have even been exposed but because their immune systems are stronger, they are more equip to prevent an overgrowth.