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Pat Brody Shelter Blog

Pat Brody Shelter Blog

02Apr

Can Cats Get Acne?

Acne is not just a problem reserved for teenagers. It may sound strange, but did you know that your cat can get acne also? -- although it may be a greater embarrassment to a teenager than to cat. How do you know if your cat has acne, and what can you do if he does? 

Feline acne is common in cats of all ages. The symptoms are similar to human acne. Pores become clogged with an oily substance caused sebum, and inflammation results. But unlike human acne, feline acne can present itself in cats of all ages. The acne generally manifests itself on a cat's chin. It often begins as tiny "plugs" of dark material -- i.e., blackheads -- around the hair shafts of the chin and lower lip, which do not bother the cat, although he may also develop little bumps with some swelling and possibly some hair loss.  It's easier to notice acne on cats with short, light-colored coats -- the area will take on a darker, dirty appearance. 

There is no specific cause for feline acne, and some cats will have the condition for life. One common cause of feline acne is thought to be a hypersensitivity reaction to plastic bowls. If you cat eats out of an old plastic bowls, the bacteria can collect in scratches and grooves, reinfecting your cat with each meal. The bacteria can also be passed to other cats in the house. If you're using a plastic bowl, replace it with a glass, porcelain or metal bowl. If you're already using a porcelain bowl, try switching to a metal bowl, or vice-versa. If you still want to use plastic bowls, replace them regularly, and thoroughly wash and disinfect the bowls after each meal.

If you do suspect that your cat has acne, don't try to treat the area yourself with human over-the-counter products. Your cat's skin is more sensitive than human skin, and if your cat happens to ingest any of the product, he could become ill. Take your cat to the veterinarian. He will be able to diagnose the situation and suggest a cleansing routine. In some cases, just as with humans, the area can become infected, resulting in swollen pustules that require draining or blisters around the mouth. At this point, your veterinarian will need to prescribe antibiotics. Clavamox, taken orally, is often recommended.

The easiest form of treatment is simply keeping the area clean. Two or three times daily, clean the area with warm water and a pet-safe shampoo (your veterinarian will be able to recommend a good one). If your cat is calm and will let you examine his chin, use a warm compress on the area, and then GENTLY remove the plugs with your fingernails. Some cats will let you do this, while others will flee as soon as you get near them. Once you have washed the area, swab it with a cotton ball or wipe soaked in peroxide. Your veterinarian can also supply you with a benzoyl peroxide gel, which normally will relieve the problem.

While the symptoms of acne can often be controlled with appropriate topical or oral medications, maintenance treatments may be needed to keep the symptoms from recurring. Even though the appearance of acne has disappeared, continue to clean your cat's chin daily. Don't worry. In most cases, acne is neither painful nor harmful. It's a bit unsightly, but that's it.

~ From Feline Facts

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