Practical relevance: Dermatophytosis (ringworm) is the most important infectious and contagious skin disease of cats in shelters. Its importance relates to the fact that it can affect all cats, but tends to affect those which would otherwise have good chances for adoption. Although many diseases in shelters fit this description, dermatophytosis is of particular significance because of associated public health concerns.
Clinical challenges: Disease management in animal shelters is challenging because new animals are frequently entering the population, numerous animals are often housed together, and resources are almost always limited. GLOBAL RELEVANCE: Outbreaks of dermatophytosis occur worldwide and no animal shelter is completely shielded from possible introduction of the disease into the population.
Audience: This article offers a flexible stepwise approach to dealing with a known or suspected outbreak of dermatophytosis in an animal shelter. It is based on the authors' experiences spanning more than a decade of responses and/or consultations. While primarily aimed at veterinarians involved in shelter medicine, the principles largely apply to other group-housing situations, such as catteries and breeding establishments.
Aims: The goals in dealing with a potential dermatophytosis outbreak are to ascertain if the 'outbreak' is actually an outbreak, to develop a shelter-specific outbreak management plan and to implement a long-term plan to prevent recurrences.