Cat Acne: Causes, Diagnosis, Therapy

In cats, pimples and blackheads are not a matter of age: feline chin acne can affect cats of all ages. Read all about causes, diagnosis, and therapy.

Feline chin acne is a fairly common skin condition in cats. It affects males and females alike and can occur at any age.

Many cats are reluctant to endure chin manipulation. Squeezing also irritates the skin, when squeezing dirt, sebum residues, etc. can get into the surrounding tissue and trigger further inflammation there. Anti-pimple and acne creams and human body washes should never be used on cats. If you discover cat acne in your cat, you should make an appointment with the vet.

Please note:
Popping pimples improperly in cats can make matters worse rather than better.

Where Does Cat Acne Appear?

There are many sebaceous glands in cats, especially in the chin area, which are connected to hair follicles. The oily secretion they secrete keeps the skin supple and the coat shiny.

There are also many of these glands on the upper and lower lip, in the forehead area, and at the base of the tail.

How Do You Recognize Cat Acne?

Cat acne is caused by overactivity of the sebaceous glands: sebum and keratin are produced in excess and can no longer drain off. The hair follicles are stretched and “blackheads” develop, which appear as black or dark yellow pimples on the skin. The size of the pimples can vary: sometimes they are very small and numerous, giving the impression of a dirty chin. Single, large pimples or small, partially red nodules are also possible.

Causes of Cat Acne

It is still unclear why some cats develop Feline chin acne. Some factors seem to favor the development of the disease:

  • stress
  • poor cleaning behavior
  • weakened immune system

Hygiene in everyday cat life is also important. Plastic bowls, for example, have a porous surface that can become a breeding ground for bacteria. It is therefore advisable to switch to bowls made of glass, metal, or ceramic and to clean them thoroughly every day. A slightly raised bowl can also help.

Does the Cat Suffer From Cat Acne?

Many cats are not bothered by the presence of pimples, but bacteria can also come into play and colonize the damaged skin. This leads to inflammation, where all the accumulated sebum gets into the surrounding tissues, causing further irritation.

Redness, hair loss, swelling, annoying itching, and bloody and/or purulent wounds can be the result. A harmless blackhead stage of cat acne can quickly become a serious problem that urgently requires veterinary treatment.

Treat Cat Acne

If the veterinarian diagnoses cat acne, he will make an imprint and examine it under the microscope in order to rule out the involvement of bacteria. If bacteria are present, antibiotic therapy is given.

In milder cases, the vet will use a warm, damp cloth to soften the skin on the chin and then use a dry cloth to massage the sebum out of the clogged follicles. The vet will also give you a special antiseborrheic wash lotion that you should use to clean the affected area once or twice a week. This should reduce sebum production and prevent new pimples from forming.

For in-between, the vet usually recommends cleaning pads that are soaked with disinfectant, especially for cats. The cleaning pads must be made specifically for cats and dogs. They contain a suitable disinfectant, such as chlorhexidine, which does not sting when applied to the skin. However, you should not use them too often, as this would dry out the skin too much and worsen the symptoms. It helps to clean your chin with a damp cloth after every meal.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also help prevent inflammation and keep the skin healthy. Salmon oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Chronic and Stubborn Feline Acne

Cat acne is mild in most cases, but it can become a permanent or chronic problem. It is, therefore, all the more important to take appropriate measures to keep chin acne under control.

Especially when the course is severe and the skin is severely affected, the cat’s general condition can also deteriorate. If the chin acne is accompanied by loss of appetite, fever, and clear signs of pain, the veterinarian can initiate additional treatments.

These include antibiotic injections and/or ointments, vitamin A ointments, or, in particularly stubborn cases, cortisone. Sometimes it makes sense for affected cats to leave fur on their chins – the agents can spread better on the skin on a shaved chin. If the itching is excessive, a neck collar can also be used – it helps to protect the skin from further irritation.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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