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Keep ringworm positive cat secluded?

Species: Cat
Breed: tabby
Age: 1-2 years
Hello. My vet thought my cat caught ringworm from another cat who had it. He had some spots on him that looked liked it so we treated him with oral and topical medication. My vet also took a culture and sent it out. I took my cat back to the vet yesterday (after 3 weeks) and they said spots look great, but took another culture just to be sure. Well they called me today and said the first culture finally came back and it was negative. Now I'm wondering if my cat had ringworm at all? Do you think I should keep him separate still until the next culture comes back or would it be ok to let him out since the first one came back negative?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

This is really a tough question to answer because we likely will never really know.

A fungal culture is generally pretty accurate when it comes to diagnosing ringworm. However, there still is the potential for false negatives. False negatives usually come from user error such as not collecting the sample properly or not storing the test properly.

Still, if your vet really felt like this was ringworm, then it was definitely appropriate to do another test and unfortunately, yes, I would advise keeping the cats separate until you get those results.

If you get negative results (i.e. no ringworm) on two tests in a row then I'd feel comfortable that ringworm was not the cause. But, just in case there was a false positive on the initial test, it really is best to keep the cats separated. Otherwise you'll likely need to go through treatment with the second cat and possibly may even need to retreat the first cat.

Hopefully everything comes out clear!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.