What is Feline Acne and How to Treat It

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If you notice tiny specks under your cat’s chin that do not wash away, perhaps your cat is suffering from feline acne or chin acne, a condition affecting cats in several numbers. The condition, characterized by red bumps on cats’ chin, may progress to become oozing, painful and open sores if left without treatment. If you have cat showing signs of acne, you shouldn’t delay in consulting a vet.

What causes feline acne?
The exact cause of feline acne is unknown, but hyperactive sebaceous glands and allergens are considered potential reasons for feline acne. The sebaceous glands produce sebum, an oily substance produced in your cat’s chin. Some cats produce sebum in large quantities, and cause dead skin cells to plug the chin’s hair follicles. The blocked hair follicles convert into blackheads called comedones on the lips and chin, which are often confused as dirt.

The blackheads eventually become red, itchy bumps, then pimples, and finally convert to abscesses at an advanced stage, which rupture and bleed causing furunculosis. In severe cases, swelling, hair loss and development of draining tracks is common. Scratching amplifies the process and lead to infections like cellulitis in advanced stages.

However, some other causes of feline acne are as follows:

  • Reduced immunity
  • Stress and trauma
  • Food sensitivity
  • Bacterial contamination
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

Symptoms of feline acne

Symptoms of feline acne include the following:

  • Blackheads or whiteheads
  • Red Pimples
  • Watery crusts on the lips and chin
  • Itching and swelling in the chin
  • Development of nodules and bleeding crusts, hair loss, pustules, pain and severe redness.

Diagnosis of feline acne
Diagnosis of feline acne begins with a thorough review of your cat’s medical history and physical examination. Vets usually use visual examination of the chin to diagnose the issue. Such examination rules out other issues such as fungal infection, mange, feline leprosy, tumors and allergies, or other skin imbalances. Your vet may also reckon upon certain procedures like taking fungal culture, skin scraping to identify mites or fungi, microscopic cell examinations, and biopsy, which is seldom needed.

Treatment of feline acne
Treatment options available for feline acne usually aim at reducing sebum. However, the treatment greatly depends on the severity of the condition. Feline acne of mild forms are treated without strong medications. You only have to keep a watch on your cat’s chin to ensure that blackheads are not progressing towards something more severe.

You should never squeeze blackheads from your cat’s chin lest it become infected. You can use antibiotic soaps, witch hazel, and Epsom or iodine salts to clean the area. Severe cases of feline acne require gel or ointment containing benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine, and topical glucocorticoids to reduce inflammation.