Giving ringworm a ‘clean break’ in your animal shelter

How do you stop the cycle of ringworm transmission in an animal shelter? By giving it a clean break, said Dr. Sandra Newbury at the University of Florida’s Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program track at the 2013 No More Homeless Pets National Conference.

Ringworm can present massive challenges in an animal shelter setting, as it’s transmissible between animals and even to humans. The course of treatment is fairly long, and it can be difficult to find foster homes willing to take on cats or kittens with ringworm.

The concept of the “clean break” is a crucial part of a shelter’s outbreak management. Dr. Newbury told attendees at her sessions on ringworm management in shelters that a “clean break” essentially means figuring out “how not to add any more animals to the exposed group of animals.” She went on:

We call this a clean break because sometimes we can think metaphorically, again, of the animals as being kind of clean or dirty. If they’re exposed, it’s not that we really think the animals are dirty. It’s just a way to keep it clear in your mind that we’re going to make this break.


Sometimes what that means is cleaning out a room of the shelter, moving all those animals to a different place and having one separate place where new animals can come in.




When you really think something bad is going on, the sooner you can get that clean break put in place, the better. That’s a real lifesaving measure.

In her presentation, she guided shelters through an inventory of what they are and aren’t capable of doing with the resources they have to maximize treatment options for affected cats.You can view the complete presentation below, or read the transcript at “Ringworm Roundup: Outbreak Management.”