Getting Ringworm Affected Kitties out of the Shelter

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Presented at the American Pets Alive No-Kill Conference 2014.

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Getting Ringworm Affected Kitties out of the Shelter

  1. 1. Getting Ringworm Affected Kitties Out of the Shelter Alive
  2. 2. • What is Ringworm • Why Do We Save These Cats • How Do We Save These Cats • What is Our Treatment for Ringworm • How Do We Run Our Program • How Do We Find and Keep Volunteers and Fosters • How Do We Adopt These Cats Out • What Challenges Do We Face
  3. 3. What is Ringworm • Highly contagious skin fungus • Commonly presents as crusted skin lesions • Easily transmissible • Infected cats in danger at shelters
  4. 4. Why Do We Save These Cats • Kittens commonly infected • Self-limiting infection • Harmless, curable • Most cases are mild to moderate
  5. 5. How Do We Save These Cats • Protocols are the foundation of “Herd” Treatment – Allow larger numbers of cats to be treated at once • Always allow for deviations from protocol if necessary
  6. 6. Establishing Our Program • Began as 100% foster-based • Even with an adoption headquarters, ringworm cats still in danger • Crates in isolated hallway allowed time to find fosters, and begin treatment • Began dedicated treatment ward in late 2010
  7. 7. What is Our Treatment for Ringworm Diagnosis • Look for classic presentation – Consider cat’s history • Wood’s Lamp examination – More accurate than previously thought • Treat for most likely cause of infection – Treat in isolation if unsure – Track changes and improvement
  8. 8. Medication Cost for 30 Day Treatment of 10# Cat Terbinafine $3.00 Compounded Itraconazole $7.90 Griseofulvin $75.60 Sporanox $204.00 Lyme Sulfur Dip $16
  9. 9. • Oral Terbinafine – 30- 40mg/kg – Recheck after 21 days • “Off” 7 days, “on” 7 • Lyme Sulfur Dip – 8oz/gal twice a week
  10. 10. How Do We Run Our Program • Isolated space • Cat housing • Ringworm medications • Dedicated supplies • Set of cleaning instruments for each enclosure • Sink or other area for dipping • Patients • Patience
  11. 11. Housing • Group vs individual • Use easily disinfected materials and designs • Use disposable materials, like cardboard for toys and scratchers • Always include housing to isolate sick cats • Resources/time dictate capacity as much as physical space
  12. 12. Group Housing Considerations • Length of time in treatment • Severity of infection • Age • Health/ vaccine history Benefits • Decreases stress • Increases number of cats • Appeals to potential adopters
  13. 13. The Fungus Fighters and “Spa Days” • Volunteer team meets twice weekly • Dip cats and ‘hard scrub’ the ward – Dip cats, set up to dry in crates – Remove everything from enclosures – Clean with detergent – Saturate with bleach solution – Replace everything • Cleanliness and disinfection is key to success of the Ringworm Ward
  14. 14. • Wash all surfaces with detergent prior to bleaching • 10:1 water and bleach solution – Ten minute wet contact time – Refresh solution daily • Remember to wash and bleach all crates and cleaning implements as well
  15. 15. Medication and Treatment Tracking • Simple binder system – Intake Paperwork – Medication Trackers – Medications – Weight Trackers – Stool Trackers – Rabies tags/certs
  16. 16. Shelter Adoption! Ringworm Ward Foster Cattery
  17. 17. How Do We Find and Keep Volunteers and Fosters • Honesty • Communication • Empowerment • Support
  18. 18. Recruiting Volunteers • Marketing to potential volunteers – Be upfront about potential risks – Be honest about stigma, and subsequent need – Before and After photos during orientations
  19. 19. Retaining Volunteers • Train volunteers to grow within the program • List of ‘Graduates’ – Sense of accomplishment, especially during long treatment periods • Weekly update emails – Improve communication, show respect, and keep volunteers engaged
  20. 20. Finding and Keeping Ringworm Fosters • Be honest about potential for environmental contamination, and work involved • Give contact information to fosters – Personalized advice can help alleviate fear • Dipping days – Some fosters are ok with ringworm, but not with Lyme Sulfur dip in their homes – Allows for face to face interaction and relationship building • Be supportive – Some of our best ringworm fosters came into it by accident – Become a ringworm team, instead of ‘Ward’ and ‘Fosters’
  21. 21. How Do We Adopt These Cats Out • Make them visible – Visitors allowed in ward – Online marketing • Transparency, education, and honesty to potential adopters • Continuing treatment, rechecks, and support
  22. 22. • Reduced adoption fees – Half price • Ringworm adoption events – Fun in Fungus – Ring in the New Year – Adopt a Fun Guy
  23. 23. • Expect lower adoption numbers for ringworm cats • Don’t try to “sell” ringworm to someone who seems unwilling • Don’t get discouraged
  24. 24. What Challenges Do We Face • Summer adoptions low – Utilize fosters for cats near end of treatment – Transfer cleared ringworm cats to new fosters • Longer shelter stays – Prioritize enrichment and socialization
  25. 25. Often house special medical and behavior cases awaiting foster – Train volunteers to identify and provide treatment – Protocols for common illnesses – Feral kitten socialization
  26. 26. Challenges can be overcome, and pay off • 652 cats have come through the ward • 465 cats completed treatment or adopted from the ward • 235 came through in 2013 • 92 adoptions in 2013
  27. 27. Questions?

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