Feline acne is also known as chin acne or kitty acne, and similarly to acne in humans, has been attributed to a variety of sources – food allergy, contact allergy to plastics, and in some cases stress. Many people mistake feline acne and its symptoms as dermatophytosis, or ringworm, although it has been clearly established that this is not the case.
Feline acne manifests itself almost exclusively on the face and, more often than not, on the chin and on the lips. It will look like a series of small black dots that look very much like blackheads. These dots may have a tendency to be oily as well. These small blackheads are known as comedones and they will appear in groups so that the chin area will look dirty. The comedones of feline acne may become inflamed or grow into tiny abscesses. These will burst and then form a crust on the cat”s chin. A severe case of feline acne will lead to swelling and hair loss on the affected area, and you will notice your cat scratching much more. If you see this happening, try to prevent this because it will cause more skin trauma; therefore, the potential for a secondary infection is possible.
Feline acne typically appears only once in a cat”s life but, depending on its cause, may turn into a recurring problem. Persian cats have a tendency to have feline acne on the face, as well as in the folds of the skin. Feline acne does not discriminate between either females or males and is present across all breeds and age groups.
The diagnosis of feline acne is fairly standard. In most cases, your veterinarian will be able to determine whether feline acne exists just from examining the patient. If other conditions are suspected, skin scrapings and biopsies may be performed on the lesions. If these procedures are performed, it is more likely to rule out secondary infections, allergies, feline yeast infections, and other conditions. The risk of secondary infection with feline acne can be significant, so your veterinarian will want to rule it out as quickly as possible.
Treatment of feline acne involves controlling the problem, because there is no true cure for it. Mild cases are generally left untreated with the hopes that the problem will rectify itself. More severe cases could involve antibiotic shampoos or creams or a treatment of 3% benzoyl peroxide to break down the oil that is causing the feline acne. Many times switching to stainless steel or glass food dishes can make a tremendous difference in terms of treatment. Plastic food dishes tend to be a breeding ground for bacteria, as debris will find itself into the grooves and nicks in the food bowl, and cause allergic reactions in the form of feline acne. Switching food bowls may be the only treatment your cat needs to overcome feline acne.
If you suspect that your cat has feline acne, there is no need for concern. Feline acne is a problem that carries the same weight as human acne does; it is a nuisance, but it can be dealt with quickly and effectively. And, as with any acne condition, severe cases of feline acne can be managed quite effectively through a doctor”s care.