Acne in cats, how to treat it and what does it consist of

You may have heard of feline acne .

Or maybe you’ve noticed little bumps or something black on your cat’s chin and wonder if cats can get acne like people?

Cat owners often assume that their pets may have the same health conditions and problems as humans. Other times, they assume the opposite and consider that cats and humans are completely different.

Feline acne is no different. You’ve probably heard of it, but the information on the Internet can be scarce and it  can be difficult to analyze all the information and answer the simple question of:  can cats get acne?

In this article, I will tell you what you need to know about what is feline acne and what is its treatment?

What is feline acne?

Two types of glands are found in the cat’s dermis: sebaceous and sweat. Most of the sebaceous glands are associated with hair follicles and produce an oily substance, sebum, which waterproofs the hair and maintains the flexibility of the skin. In addition there is a set of larger sebaceous glands that are located on the chin, lips, the dorsal surface of the base of the tail and also the eyelids.

The secretion of these larger glands is used to mark “their territory” , and that is done by cats by rubbing the chin, lips, temporal area and base of the tail on certain objects.

The increased activity of the sebaceous glands in the chin area  causes excess oil in the skin and hair. It is seen particularly on the chin of white or light-coated cats as a yellowish, oily discoloration. There may also be traces of greasy black material on the chin.

These areas are the ones that our cats  rub the most against other surfaces  to leave their smell and therefore are more prone to being  affected by bacterial infections .

The increased activity of the sebaceous glands predisposes to feline acne , which can occur in various degrees of severity.

Some cats may have a single episode of acne, while others have a lifelong recurring problem. However, the frequency and severity of each acne breakout can vary with each animal. 

Associated with acne, a secondary bacterial infection can appear that generates folliculitis in cats (inflammation of the hair follicles).



Symptoms of acne in cats

One of the easiest ways to tell if your cat has acne is to  see if it persistently rubs or scratches  the affected areas (especially the chin and tail).

You can also check it manually,  passing your hand over the chin to check if there are pimples ,  swelling  or if it bothers when you do it.

Cat acne can appear as both blackheads and whiteheads, depending on the stage and severity.

Cat acne can change in appearance depending on whether acne is accompanied by a secondary bacterial infection.

Symptoms of the condition can include hollow heads or pimples, small red pimples, watery scabs that can develop on the chin, nose, tail, and lips . In the most severe cases, your cat can develop nodules, bleeding scabs, pustules, hair loss, severe redness of the skin, and pain.

Causes of feline acne

or usually, no single cause of acne a cat.

Cat acne is believed to be caused by both excessive and poor grooming , but abnormalities in your cat’s skin surface or oil production can also play a role .

Stress can also be one of the most common causes of acne in cats . Anything that disturbs the tranquility of your feline, can end up translating into health problems for your pet

Genetics, race, age, and gender don’t seem to play a big role in the likelihood of cat acne occurring.

Viruses like feline calicivirus and feline herpes virus do not appear to play a significant role either.

Ultimately, just like in humans, the exact cause of acne in a cat is not known for sure, and several factors are likely to lead to the development of acne.


Acne in cats treatment

Most mild cases of feline acne do not require treatment, the acne will clear up on its own within a couple of weeks or so.

To soothe minor acne, you can rinse a towel with warm water and apply it to the affected area. A warm compress can reduce swelling as well.

Topical treatments, such as special wipes or shampoos, are an alternative to oral antibacterial medications for feline acne, but always prescribed by a veterinarian. 

If your cat’s acne is chronic or comes back repeatedly, your vet can design a maintenance program that prevents your pet from having new breakouts. This will likely involve cleaning the acne area once a week with acne wipes or antibiotic soap.

If your cat’s acne has progressed, they will likely prescribe a series of oral antibiotics.

Fortunately, cat acne is almost never a serious condition and it is generally very easy to treat with the correct medication.

Here are some of the treatments indicated for  e liminal acne cat :

1. Topical ointment

 Topical vitamin A and retinoids can help in mild cases. Clean your cat’s face with a damp cloth and then apply the ointment. Do this twice a day gently on inflamed or irritated skin.

2. Mupirocin or bactroban

 As acne can be largely associated with bacteria, treatments such as mupirocin ( bactroban acne , human use ointment) are valid to treat the case. For cats, mupirocin is often an oral treatment; however, it can also be administered topically.

3. Hydrogen peroxide for feline acne

They can be applied with a cotton ball. However, hydrogen peroxide bubbles can sting. You should wipe up excess chemicals after applying them, and it can be difficult to get your cat to stay still for this treatment.

4. Benzoyl peroxide and chlorhexidine

For more severe cases, cleansing ointments or gels containing benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine can be used . They are antibacterial and are applied topically. 

5. Aloe vera for feline acne

Simply moisten the cat’s skin with Aloe and disinfect the affected area. To do this you will only need two very simple ingredients: Aloe vera and water.

6. Betadine for cat acne

Prevention of cat acne

Cat acne can often be prevented by keeping the chin area and nose clean.

Cats can usually do this without our help, but if a cat is extremely young or old, they may need our help to keep the area in tip-top shape.

However, some cats have cat acne no matter what you do.

In these cases, it can be very difficult to prevent acne from forming, even with a maintenance routine.



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