Feline Acne – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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By Tess Thompson

Cats can have medical problems that are not always apparent if you are not a trained person. It is a good policy to keep yourself informed and educated about your pet and the problems that they may face. Information and knowledge can help in dealing with medical issues when and if they do occur.

Before you bring a cat home, the first thing that you should do is to get the animal checked by a veterinarian. Many cats can have skin problems. Some infections like parasite infestations are contagious and can be passed on to other cats in your home. Some infestations can even pass on to humans.

One of the common skin conditions in cats is feline acne. The symptoms of feline acne can mimic those of ringworm so it is important to have this condition diagnosed by a veterinarian. Feline acne is commonly called chin acne as it almost always occurs on the chin and lips.

Feline acne starts as small black oily spots that resemble blackheads. These black marks get inflamed and gradually transform into pus filled eruptions called pustules or pimples. Severe cases often results in excessive feline hair loss around the chin accompanied by swelling. The resultant itching causes the condition to progress into a secondary infection.

The cause of feline acne has not been established with certainty. It is believed that the inherent territorial marking behavior of cats by rubbing their chin and face against objects could be one of the main reasons. Other reasons may include:

  • Dirt and oil that accumulates on the chin that can invite bacteria - The bacteria and the dirt can together infect hair follicles leading to severe acne in some cases.
  • Imbalanced human diets that are often offered to cats instead of proper feline food
  • Allergy to fabric, plastic or any other such allergen
  • Unhygienic environment and a lack of grooming
  • Stress

Feline acne is a minor condition and can be compared to cat dandruff in terms of its seriousness. It can be easily treated with topical treatments like antibiotic soap, hydrogen peroxide or iodine. In cases of moderate acne, the veterinarian may cut off the fur for deep cleansing of the affected area. Oral antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs are used to treat rare cases of severe infection and inflammation.

Even though these conditions are not very serious, they can cause a fair amount of stress among pet owners. Although cat and dog skin problems are common occurrences, they still need to be treated properly and require a concentrated effort.

Some skin conditions are a manifestation of an internal disease. Such cases take longer to heal since the real cause behind the skin problem needs to be treated.


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