Treating Fungal Infections in Cats With Nizoral

Nizoral is an efficient antifungal medication. It is used to treat yeast infections in cats as well as ringworms and other fungal infections. More recently, nizoral is used as medication for Cushing's disease. However, a lot of vets avoid using nizoral due to the numerous side effects and higher toxicity than other antifungal treatment options.

Nizoral and Its Uses

Ketoconazole is the medication marketed under the name of nizoral. It is available as oral tablets, creams or gels and as shampoo.

Nizoral is an antifungal drug and is most often used as yeast infection treatment; however other fungal infections such as blastomycosis, cryptococcosis or coccidioidomycosis may also be treated with nizoral.

Ketoconazole acts as a fungi growth inhibitor, preventing the formation of a fungal cell wall.

Yeast Infection

A yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of candida albicans fungi.

The feline yeast infection presents the following signs: itchiness, bad smelling white-yellowish discharge, thickened skin, diarrhea and vomiting.

The yeast infection may occur on the skin, in the ears or rectum. Topical treatment and oral treatment are prescribed; nizoral can be taken both as oral tablets or used as a shampoo to get rid of the yeast infection.

Ringworm Infections

Nizoral can be used to treat ringworms. A ringworm infection is a fungal skin disease caused by some parasitic fungi known as dermatophytes. The symptoms of ringworms include hair loss, bald patches, rashes, itching and dry or flaky skin.

The ringworm infection is a contagious condition; younger cats and cats with a weaker immune system are more susceptible to the disease.

Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis and Cryptococcosis

Blastomycosis, Coccidioidomycosis and Cryptococcosis are more severe fungal infections that may affect the skin but also the lymph nodes, eyes, bones and the lungs.

Blastomycosis is an infection with symptoms such as fever, headaches, coughing and shortness of breath.

Coccidioidomycosis or valley fever is a fungal disease with flu-like symptoms.

Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection that may be fatal. It displays symptoms such as fever, chest pain, dry cough, lethargy, confusion and bloated abdomen.

Nizoral Side Effects

Nizoral has more side effects than other anti-fungal medication, so vets don't usually prescribe nizoral as a first option medication to treat fungi.

Nizoral can cause lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding, jaundice, cataracts, dry skin, dry hair and coat discoloration.

Ketoconazole is deposited in the fatty tissues, making it more difficult to break down or eliminate, so it may be more toxic than other antifungal medication. Vets prefer triazole compounds such as fluconazole or itraconazole to treat infections caused by fungi.

Nizoral can interact with other medications; if your cat takes heart medications, antacids, prednisone or anticonvulsants, let your vet know.

On the other hand, nizoral can have beneficial side effects; it may be used to decrease the testosterone levels in cats with prostate cancer.

Cushing's disease may be treated with nizoral; ketaconazole decreases the hormone production and synthesis in cats; excess hormone production causes imbalance in cats with Cushing's disease, so nizoral can restore the hormonal balance, reducing the symptoms of the disease.

Nizoral is a prescription medication and cannot treat infections caused by bacteria, viruses or other parasites.