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A. Ringworm typically shows up as a red hairless patch on people or pets, often in the shape of a ring. But it’s caused by a fungus, not a worm of any kind. We veterinarians are exposed to ringworm in our patients so often that getting a case of it ourselves is not uncommon. Fortunately, it’s not considered a serious condition, in either pets or people, even if it is an itchy one.
While you can get ringworm from a pet, you’re more likely to get it from another person. Places such as locker rooms are common areas where the fungus might live, since moist, warm areas are a perfect breeding ground for funguses. Protect yourself by wearing sandals in locker rooms and communal showers and by not sharing towels with anyone. (When you get ringworm from a locker room, it’s referred to as “athlete’s foot.”)
While dogs, cats and many other animals can get ringworm, cats are more likely to pick it up than other pets. To prevent the fungus from spreading, promptly take your pet to the veterinarian for diagnosis, treatment and a strategy to prevent a repeat infection. Ringworm can certainly be ugly and itchy, but it’s usually not hard to cure in people or animals, and is typically treated with cream and pills.
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