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Home :: Acne :: Feline Acne

Feline acne

Feline acne, as the name suggests, is acne among cats. Like human beings cats are also afflicted with it during some time of their lives and it can afflict cats regardless of age, sex or breed. It is commonly found on chin and lips of cats and is also known as kitty acne or chin acne. Cats have s ebaceous glands that secrete oils (known as sebum), which in turn lubricate the skin, preventing dryness & irritation. The sebaceous glands are commonly found in eyelids, chin, surface of the base of the tail, lips, scrotum and prepuce of the cats. They are conjoined to the hair follicles. In incidences of acne hair follicles are caked with black sebaceous material, resulting in blackheads on the skin. These blackheads with time may cause irritation swelling, infection and in some cases occurrence of pustules.

The feline acne is believed to be caused by plastic bowl and trays, which are often the resting place of bacteria. This bacteria is transferred to the cat's chin while feeding. Also an allergic reaction to plastic food bowls can also trigger feline acne in some cases, as thought by medical fraternity. Other causes include poor grooming habits, over active sebaceous glands, food allergies and stress.

The symptoms of feline acne include black spots on chin and lips that give the appearance of dirt and secondary infection that may lead to swollen, red pustules and bleeding in some cases.

The treatment of feline acne centers on removing excess sebum. If the acne is mild, it can be easily treated with topical treatment that involves gentle cleansing with an antibiotic soap, hydrogen peroxide, iodine (Betadine) or Epsom salts. Topical vitamin A and retinodis are given for further relief. In moderate cases skin of the cat is cleansed with an ointment or gel with benzoyl peroxide (such as OxyDex) or chlorhexidine. In such cases topical, glucocorticoids is given to reduce inflammation.

In case of severe acne, the fur around chin may be clipped by the veterinarian and it can be followed by deep cleansing of the affected area. Oral antibiotics are given to supplement the treatment and in some cases oral glucocorticoids such as prednisone are prescribed for relief from severe inflammation. 

It is important to note that feline acne is a condition of cats and is markedly different from that of human. Therefore, it must be treated by a trained veterinarian.

The cat need not be subjected to home made treatments for human acne in any situation. However prevention is better than cure. To prevent the outbreak of acne some easy steps can be followed. Firstly, plastic bowls should be replaced with ceramic and metal bowls. Secondly, food and water bowls must be washed daily. Thirdly, cats chin must be cleaned after eating.

If feline acne is left untreated it results in a serious skin disorder called Folliculitis. This can be treated by a vet with steroids or antibiotics with an antibacterial lotion. It must be remembered that feline acne is best treated by a vet and this article under no circumstances be substituted with advice of vet.