Ringworm, yeast overgrowth and other fungal infections can affect your kitty at any time. They require prompt treatment to prevent the infection from spreading, to stop Midnight’s suffering and to prevent scratching-inflicted injuries. Consult your vet about appropriate treatment, which may include an antifungal shampoo.
Only use an antifungal shampoo with your vet's say-so and use the one he recommends. Lots of products treat feline fungal infections, with shampoos being just one type; ointments, creams, sprays, lime sulfur dips and other treatments also work. Also, different antifungal ingredients are available, with some better suited to certain fungi than others. You must be certain the active antifungal ingredient you use is safe for cats and that your individual kitty doesn't have any contraindications. Consult your vet as soon as you suspect a fungal infection. Common symptoms include skin lesions, patches of flaking or scaling skin, excessive scratching or biting and localized hair loss.
Antifungal Shampoo Ingredients
Antifungal shampoos for cats usually contain one of three active ingredients: ketoconazole, miconazole or chlorhexidine. The first two are typically used in 2 percent concentrations, while chlorhexidine is generally seen in 2 to 4 percent solutions. Ketoconazole is a particularly effective antifungal medication, but it's associated with a lot of adverse reactions. Two derivatives of ketoconazole have been developed that have shown themselves to be just as good or better at treating many fungal infections with fewer side effects: itraconazole and fluconazole.
Different antifungal shampoos have slightly different instructions, so follow your vet's prescription and the manufacturer's directions carefully. Misuse can be dangerous to your kitty and may fail to successfully treat an infection. In general, begin by wetting your kitty with warm water, then shampoo your kitty in sections. Start by lathering her head and the back of her ears, taking care to avoid contact with her inner ears, eyes, nose and mouth. Then, lather her neck, back, chest and tail. Finish with her legs. Let the shampoo stand for five to 10 minutes as per the label instructions and don't let your kitty lick the shampoo. Rinse it off thoroughly with warm water.
Don't get antifungal shampoo in your kitty's ears, eyes, nose or mouth, and don't make contact with mucous membranes. If you do make contact with any of these parts, quickly and thoroughly rinse the area; irritation may result, and you'll need to see your vet if it persists. Contact your vet right away if your pet ingests any shampoo. These products may cause side effects, including irritation, dizziness, photosensitivity, nausea and vomiting. Mention any problems to your vet. It's possible for your kitty to have an allergic reaction to an antifungal agent or an inactive ingredients in a shampoo. Common signs include hives, rash, itching, swelling and difficulty breathing. Get your kitty emergency veterinary attention if you suspect an allergic response. Most antifungal shampoos aren't safe for use on pregnant cats, and if yours has liver or kidney dysfunction or other health problems, make sure your vet is aware of them at the time of prescription.
Eric Mohrman has been a freelance writer since 2007, focusing on travel, food and lifestyle stories. His creative writing is also widely published. He lives in Orlando, Florida.