Pet Insurance policies are underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company.

Pet ringworm treatment requires home cleaning

While treating pets (and humans) for ringworm, veterinarian Dr. Lee suggests tips for thorough home cleanup.

Pet ringworm treatment requires home cleaning

Q:Our new foster cat brought ringworm into the house, and now most of us—cats and humans—have it, too. Our veterinarian prescribed medication and a special shampoo and dip for the cats, and she instructed us to clean the house well. We’re vacuuming daily. Should we also rent a carpet shampooer?

A:Despite its name, ringworm isn’t a worm at all, but a fungal infection. Most cats with ringworm have patchy hair loss, but a carrier’s coat can appear normal.

Ringworm spores persist in the environment, making eradication difficult. So a successful outcome requires treatment of all pets and scrupulous cleaning of the home.

To kill ringworm spores, clean and disinfect solid surfaces. Launder bedding and other fabric, small area rugs and soft articles. Vacuum upholstered furniture and drapes, and discard the vacuum cleaner bag. Press duct tape to furniture to remove any hair the vacuum missed.

Clean hardwood and tile floors with a damp, disposable cloth, such as a Swiffer pad. Avoid brooms, which are difficult to decontaminate.

Carpeting should be vacuumed to remove all hair and cleaned to eliminate the ringworm spores. A recent study compared commercial hot water extraction cleaning to carpet shampooing once or twice, with or without a 10-minute pre-treatment with disinfectant.

Commercial hot water extraction, sometimes called steam cleaning, worked best. Shampooing once was least effective. Pre-treating with disinfectant helped but frequently discolored the carpet.

Replace all furnace filters, which trap ringworm spores, so it isn’t necessary to clean your air ducts.

Your job will be easier if you restrict your cats to a room you can clean quickly, such as a bathroom, until your veterinarian confirms that the ringworm is gone.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com.

  • Instagram logo
  • facebook
  • tiktok
  • Twitter

No one is permitted to sell, solicit or negotiate an insurance policy without a producer license in the state in which the plan is sold, and all prospects should be directed to Figo Pet Insurance. The information contained in this website is for illustrative purposes only and coverage under any pet insurance policy is expressly subject to the conditions, restrictions, limitations, exclusions (including pre-existing conditions), and terms of the policy documentation issued by the insurer. Availability of this program is subject to each state’s approval and coverage may vary by state. Coverage underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (IAIC), a Delaware Insurance Company, 485 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10022. Live Vet and the Figo Pet Cloud are separate non-insurance services unaffiliated with IAIC.

Copyright © 2015-2022 Figo Pet Insurance LLC. All rights reserved