Just like us, felines are also susceptible to suffer from acne, both mild and severe cases. Although any cat can experience it, feline acne is more common to cats having long hair or those with lots of skin folds.
Feline acne can appear in any areas of the body; however, it is often seen around the mouth or on the cat’s chin. This can be present as a single breakout or can be reoccurring for some. If the acne is severe, your cat might start losing hair in areas affected with acne, as well as display redness, nodules, and bleeding scabs.
While oily skin is the common cause of acne for humans, it is not usually the case in cats. There are various possible factors for feline acne. Although it has not been proven yet, here are the suggested causes:
- Flea allergies
- Poor hygiene
- Poor grooming related to obesity
- Excessive grooming (wherein the chin is constantly rubbed on the fur)
- Abnormal sebum production
- Environmental/natural triggers like:
- Fungal spores
- Reaction/Side effect on medication
Plastic containers were presumed as a plausible culprit for feline acne, but now the bacteria in plastics are seemingly the actual cause of the problem. In addition, feline acne is not related to hormonal influence. Both male and female cats are fairly vulnerable to acne.
Although looking incredibly unpleasant to the eyes, acne is not as dangerous as other skin problems. However, your veterinarian will try to rule out any other possible skin diseases, like fleas, mites, and other infection, to properly assess your cat’s health and condition and recommend proper treatment. Testing methods include:
- Microscopic examination of the cells
- Skin scrape test
- Fungal culture
In more serious cases, a biopsy might be necessary.
After furry friend gets diagnosed with acne, your vet will prescribe the proper treatment, which may include:
- Oral medication
- Topical cream or ointment
Acne is rather managed than cured. In terms of home remedy along with the recommendation of your veterinarian, you have the option to gently cleanse the affected area or acne with:
- Antibiotic soap
- Topical vitamin A
- Betadine/Diluted iodine
- Diluted Epsom salt
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Warm water compress, which will help soothe the acne
For more severe cases of feline acne, your veterinarian may suggest further treatments like:
- Gel or ointment that contains benzoyl peroxide or chlorhexidine
- Antibiotics in the form of liquids, pills, or long-lasting injections
- Tablets that are meant to reduce inflammation or corticosteroid injection
- Topical antibiotics
- Prescribed shampoo or wash
Here are some preventive measures to consider when you suspect that your cat is experiencing acne:
- Consult your veterinarian for proper diagnosis
This will help treat the problem earlier and easier, as well as prevent further infection to develop. This preventive measure will also reduce post-traumatic infection experiences from scratching.
- Avoid using non-cat medications or products
There are numerous medications and/or products to treat acne for humans, but it does not mean that it is okay to use them on animals. Communicating with your cat’s veterinarian before applying any sort of human medication is recommended as this may be dangerous to your cat.
- Maintain good hygiene
Sure, cats can groom themselves. However, with your assistance, especially in gently exfoliating your cat’s chin with a benzoyl peroxide solution, it may help prevent further outbreaks or lessen the development of acne.
- Use a shallow dish for both food and water
This may prevent your cat’s chin from absorbing bacteria that might be in the water whilst drinking.
- Avoid using plastic dishes
It is always better to be safe as your cat may be allergic to dyes or plastics. As an alternative, use ceramic, glass, or metal containers to hold food and water, and make sure to clean it every day.
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Know more about preventive measures to different cat health concerns here!
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