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Cat Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: March 5, 2019
Cat Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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Feline acne is a dermatological problem which can occur in cats of any age. Feline acne on a cat’s skin is visible through the formation of blackheads. Symptoms of feline acne include inflammation, pain and sores. But, what causes feline acne and how do you treat it? And, most importantly, is feline acne contagious?

If you are wonder if feline acne is serious, keep reading here at AnimalWised. Not only will we be discussing causes, symptoms, and treatment of feline acne, but we’ll also be looking at a commonly asked question, is feline acne contagious? In addition, we’ll be throwing in some of our best sourced cat acne home remedies. Keep reading for more!

Cat acne: what is it?

Feline acne is one of the most common skin conditions in cats. Cat acne is an inflammatory problem that occurs on a cat’s skin and lips. Cat acne on the chin can occur in cats of any age, breed and gender.

Often, feline acne goes unnoticed as its symptoms are sometimes mild. In these such cases, this cat acne will go away alone and won’t require treatment. Other times, however, symptoms can be more severe and treatment will be necessary[1]. For more, we recommend reading our article where we look at ‘My cat has scabs - skin conditions in cats.’

Cat acne: symptoms

Symptoms of feline acne on the chin include (less to more severe):

  • Black heads that, at first glance, can be confused wit flea droppings.
  • If the problem progresses, pustules and papules may appear, at times with an exudation of pus.
  • In more serious cases we you may notice furunculosis (the infection of an entire hair follicle and surrounding tissue), cellulitis and/or a cutaneous bacterial infection.
  • These such complications can give rise to an edema (a swelling caused by fluid accumulation) and/or inflammation of the nearest lymph nodes.
  • These such aggravated cases can also generate severe itching.
Cat Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - Cat acne: symptoms
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Cat acne: causes

The cause of feline acne includes a follicular keratinization that is complicated/worsened by a secondary infection. Keratin is a protein present in the epidermis that, in this case, will form a plug in the follicle. The hyperactive sebaceous glands, associated with hair follicles located in the chin, will thereby produce more fat that will clog the follicles. This fat is what predisposes a cat to feline acne resulting in the presence of blackheads.

Additional feline acne causes include:

  • Stress.
  • Lack of proper hygiene.
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
  • Allergies.
  • Weak immunity.
  • Excessive skin rubbing on objects.
  • Hormonal imbalances.
  • Other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis.

For more on what to avoid if your cat has allergies, we recommend reading our article where we discuss the most common food allergies in cats.

Is cat acne contagious?

It is important to know that feline acne is not contagious. As we’ve already mentioned, feline acne is caused by an excess of sebum in a cat’s skin. Cat acne on the skin cannot be transmitted to other cats or humans.

Feline acne: treatment

So, how do you get rid of cat acne? Cat acne treatment should be administered by a veterinarian only. A professional will assess your cat’s specific case and, depending on the presented symptoms and causes, will prescribe the most appropriate anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and/or disinfectant.

The goal of feline acne treatment is to eliminate the presence of excess sebum. This is done to prevent the formation of pimples and secondary infections. In milder cases, cleaning your cat’s skin with chlorhexidine (disinfectant and antiseptic) 2-3 times a day may suffice.The most serious cases of cat acne can be difficult to treat and may require prolonged treatment. In these such cases, oral medication is recommended. Feline acne may return over time, and therefore, daily cleaning is necessary.

Cat Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment - Feline acne: treatment

Feline acne treatment: hydrogen peroxide

Apply hydrogen peroxide onto your cat’s skin with a cotton ball. Make sure to clean off any excess chemical off. The use of benzoyl peroxide for cats suffering from feline acne is also a very common as an antibacterial. In fact, we recommend using a gel containing benzoyl peroxide rather than hydrogen peroxide for cats. The reason for this is that hydrogen peroxide can at times burn your cat’s skin, especially if it is very sensitive.

Remember to consult a veterinarian before applying any new gels or chemicals to your cat’s skin.

Feline acne: home remedies

You can also treat and prevent cat acne at home, as long as you’ve gotten the all clear from your veterinarian. Here is our list of home remedies for feline acne:

  • Shave off your cat’s chin hair.
  • Clean your cat’s infected area with chlorhexidine daily.
  • Mild cases of feline acne can be controlled long-term by applying retinoids (inactive forms of vitamin A).
  • Oral fatty acids may work for some cats.
  • We recommend opting for metal and ceramic troughs and drinkers. Avoiding plastic troughs as they are commonly associated with the appearance of feline acne and symptom aggravation.
  • Apply a little Aloe Vera on the affected area to soothe and reduce inflammation. This needs to be done very carefully making sure it IS NOT INGESTED orally, as Aloe Vera can be toxic for cats.
  • If your cat often stains its chin when eating or drinking, you should clean it well. In this case, we recommend offering your cat drier food that doesn’t leave as much remains on the chin.

Cat acne: hygiene for cats

Cat hygiene is KEY when preventing feline acne. For more about cleaning your cat, we recommend taking a look at our video below where we explain how to wash an adult cat for the first time.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Cat Acne - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment, we recommend you visit our Skin problems category.

References

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Delila
Very helpful, i didnt know if it was because of mites or fleas.

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