Ringworm, Ringworm and More Ringworm is Found in 100+ Rescued Cats

Ringworm, ringworm and more ringworm! The vast majority of the 100+ cats taken in from Steel City Alley Cats Coalition (SCACC) have ringworm. Sounds easy to treat, but in a shelter setting, that couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth! Because of how contagious ringworm is and how it is transmitted (by spores), our staff has to be incredibly careful when handling ringworm cases so they don’t accidentally infect the rest of the shelter population or themselves, as ringworm is zoonotic and can be passed from animals to humans.

If you’re wondering how we acquired these cats, it was by the hard work of our Animal Law Enforcement (ALE) team. A month-long joint investigation with PACFA and the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office resulted in enough evidence to issue a warrant to search the coalition, based on potential charges of animal neglect. Between September 4 and September 9, 2019, four cats were confirmed dead, and SCACC has failed three consecutive PACFA reports because of unsafe conditions, such as not quarantining diseased cats and not providing proper medical attention to cats in need.

As a result, ALE and HSPPR staff veterinarians were onsite at Steel City Alley Cats Coalition (SCACC) in Pueblo, CO, until 11 p.m. on September 9th when they impounded 135 cats. Twelve were sent to our Pueblo shelter because they were in critical care, and 123 were sent to our Colorado Springs campus.

To accommodate such a large number at one time while keeping them all separate from our shelter population, we set up our two disaster rooms with temporary and overflow kennels. Our CART volunteers (Community Animal Response Team) were activated and came on-site to help care for this large group of cats.

Thanks to partner shelters including PAWS for Life, Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Dumb Friends League, Larimer Humane Society and Fort Collins Cat Rescue, we transferred out many of the cats that were ready for adoption in our shelter, to make room for the SCACC cats and prevent the spread of disease.

From the necropsies of the cats that unfortunately died and what we are seeing in the critical care cases, we know that panleukopenia, calicivirus and other skin diseases, upper and lower respiratory infections, and more were present in the facility without proper isolation. Not to mention the ringworm!

Like we mentioned previously, ringworm sounds harmless, but in a shelter setting, it’s incredibly difficult to treat. Every single time a staff member enters a room with these cats, they are required to wear a full Tyvek suit, booties, and gloves. It takes two bottles of lime sulfur dip added to a gallon of water for each cat, and each cat has to be dipped twice a week and placed into a clean kennel, so it will take at least two staff members at all times to administer each dip (one to dip and one to clean the kennel – and that’s IF the cat is cooperating). Each cat must have two negative cultures, and it takes two weeks to cure a culture. Because of these challenges and the sheer number of cats, we are estimating it will take a month to six weeks, maybe even longer, to treat these cats, and they will continue requiring care and shelter resources for their entire stay. If you’re interested in donating to HSPPR to help us rid these cats of ringworm and get them ready to be adopted, please visit our Facebook Page and click the Donate button.

Thank you for your ongoing support!