Have You Heard About Cat Acne?
A look at feline acne causes, symptoms, and treatment optionsPublished November 13, 2012
Yes, cats can get zits.
If you have ever been owned by a kitty, you may recall enjoying watching your cat rubbing its chin and face on various objects or even some people. This behavior is called territorial marking, which may also be a sign of affection and “ownership." The sebaceous glands are instrumental in territorial marking. Over time this rubbing behavior can leave grimy patches on frequently visited areas thanks to sebum, an oily substance secreted by these glands to protect the skin.So What Is Cat Acne?
According to Cat World, cat acne is a problem frequently occurring in both male and female cats of all ages. Blackheads, tiny bumps or pimples are found on the chin and lips; however these symptoms often go unnoticed because they are so mild.
However, if hair follicles get blocked with the black oily substance, it results in blackheads which may become irritated, infected and swollen, and become pustules.
What are the Causes of Feline Acne? While the exact causes of feline acne still remain unknown, several factors may contribute to the condition. Poor grooming habits, a compromised immune system, stress, other medical conditions, contact dermatitis, allergies or skin diseases causing the production of excess oil are associated with the feline acne. Some veterinarians suspect that plastic feeding dishes may be one of the culprits causing the condition since plastic bowls are porous and trap bacteria. Some cats may be allergic to plastic which is another cause suggested by veterinarians.
How is Feline Acne Diagnosed? To rule out other similar lesions appearing on the cat's skin, such as yeast, mites, mange, allergies, fungal infection, or skin tumors, the veterinarian may perform skin scrapings or in rare cases, a skin biopsy.
How is Cat Acne Treated? Although the symptoms of feline acne may be controlled, unfortunately at present there is no "cure." Very mild cases in which symptoms are negligible may only require treatment with a mild topical ointment along with gentle cleansing of the skin with an antibacterial soap, betadine or Epsom salts. In more severe cases, cleansing the skin with an ointment containing benzoyl peroxide, or chlorhexidine may be advised. In order to reduce inflammation, veterinarians may prescribe topical glucocorticoids.
The veterinarian may clip the fur on the cat’s chin, allowing a more thorough cleaning of the affected area, prescribe oral antibiotics and to reduce inflammation, oral steroids.How Can I Prevent My Cat From Getting Feline Acne?
1. To help prevent feline acne, cat guardians should thoroughly wash all food dishes and water bowls daily.
2. Switch food and water dishes from plastic to ceramic, glass or metal bowls.
3. If your kitty is predisposed to getting feline acne, gently wash your cat’s chin after meals
If you suspect that your kitty may have cat acne, to initiate any necessary treatment please consult with your veterinarian.
Have you had cats with feline acne? If so, how was it treated? Tell us in a comment.