Fostering a dog or cat that has been diagnosed with ringworm can be a very rewarding experience. Treatment of a ringworm animal is normally around 6 – 8 weeks in a shelter. But, in a low-stress foster home, treatment time can be reduced by half!
At many shelters, treating ringworm is not an option due to limited resources and isolation spaces. Those shelters turn to Operation Kindness as a lifesaving option for ringworm pets. We have a limited capacity to care for ringworm pets in our hospital. By utilizing foster homes, we can save more animals.
For all foster pets, Operation Kindness provides veterinary care, medications, food, supplies, and all the training you will need.
What is ringworm?
Contrary to its name, ringworm is not a worm! Ringworm is a skin infection caused by a fungus. It is similar to athlete’s foot and lives everywhere – including on animals, people, and in the soil.
You have probably come in contact with ringworm in your day-to-day life without even realizing it. It is very hardy and lives a long time, years even, in most environments.
Ringworm is zoonotic, meaning it is contagious to people and to other animals. The young, old, and immune-compromised are more likely to become infected. Lesions typically appear on those infected within 7-14 days.
Caring for a foster with ringworm
To prepare to foster ringworm animals, designate a space for the animal that has easy to clean flooring, like tile, avoiding carpeted areas or rugs.
Separation is key. Keep separate bedding for fosters that is cleaned separately from other laundry. Use disposable toys that can be tossed. Do not utilize cat trees as they will become contaminated and are very difficult to disinfect.
When interacting with ringworm fosters, wear a separate set of clothes you can change out of when you are finished interacting with them. We recommend utilizing gloves, booties, and gowns when interacting with your fosters to reduce transmission.
While in your care, you will provide your foster pet with special baths for their ringworm treatment. Training and supplies will be provided!
Expect to foster a ringworm pet for at least 4 weeks.
Am I going to get ringworm from my foster?
It’s possible, but you can take steps to reduce the likelihood. Stay diligent about washing and disinfecting your hands and changing clothes after handling ringworm pets.
Some people may be at greater risk of contracting the fungus than others. This puts young animals and children, elderly people and pets, those who are HIV+, people on chemotherapy or taking medication after transfusion or organ transplant, and highly stressed people and animals at higher risk.
Ready to give ringworm fostering a try? Sign up today to get started. Once you complete basic foster training online, you can advance to ringworm-specific training. By fostering an animal, you are saving a life and making space to save another pet with ringworm.
Have questions? Send us an email and our foster team will answer your questions.