It turns out teenagers aren’t the only ones completely mortified by breakouts of acne! Believe it or not, cat acne is real, and your cats don’t have to be teenagers to experience cat acne, either.
They even have their own dermatologists (Tell your cats not to flick her tail for that). In fact, the veterinary dermatology field is far from frolicsome (that’s not because it needs an extra four years of medical training after finishing vet school) and deals with many of the same dermatological issues that affect humans — one of them is acne.
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What Is Feline Acne?
Feline acne is a cosmetic disease and it is not usually dangerous but can call for persistent, symptomatic on-again, off-again treatment to control the flare-ups. Here are a few basic things about cat acne, straight from a vet.
Cat or Feline acne is an idiopathic (this means- we don’t know why it occurs) disorder, which is histologically known as follicular keratosis.
It is very common in cats and can occur at any age, gender, and any breed. In cases when there is no secondary infection, cat acne looks a lot like a pinch of dust beneath your cat’s chin.
What causes cat chin acne?
Cat chin acne is the most common form of acne. They can appear as small blackheads underneath the chin called comedones (blackheads) which is usually not noticeable.
The main causes are excess oil production and bad grooming habits. Excessive sebum production and abnormal follicular keratinization are other causes.
They can progress into the patch of blackheads that may or may not develop into a whitehead or red, itchy bumps that begins to remind you of pimples in humans.
When the acne is left unnoticed, it can advance to abscesses that rip open and become crusty. Secondary infections may set at this stage.
Some cats are impervious by acne and they don’t seem to bother them at all or cause any pain, while others show apparent signs of discomfort or itchiness.
What Causes Feline Acne?
The exact cause of cat acne is still unclear and researchers cite several possible causes.
The most accepted reason is over-active sebaceous glands and the cat’s hair follicles become jammed by waxy, oily accumulations of sebum (a type of oil that is produced by their skin).
Due to the build-up of sebum, it can clog your cat’s follicles and trap pathogens, which as you might expect, can lead to cat acne.
The other factors include stress, food allergies, poor grooming by herself, or by her human companions. he compromised the immune system of a cat is also a contributing factor though this always is not the case.
Genetics, breed, gender, and age do not seem to play much of a role in the odds of cat acne. Viruses such as the feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus also do not seem to play a role.
On the whole, just like in humans, the precise cause of one cat’s acne is up for speculation.
It is possible that there are multiple contributing factors lead to the development of cat acne. Whatever may be the reason, always consult your vet before treating your pet at home.
What are the other causes of cat acne?
Hair follicles might also produce excess oil, causing breakouts and dander.
What Are The Symptoms Of Feline Acne?
The simplest way to tell if your cat has cat acne is by simply looking under their chin. Initially, you might have thought to be dirt but once you know what to search for, it is hard to ignore.
Generally, there are just asymptomatic blackheads beneath the chin, lower lip, and on the upper lip.
When there is a secondary infection is present, there is the possibility that pustules and watery crusts will form.
In very severe cases, the skin around the chin can become very thick and swollen (edematous). They may even get scarred from secondary infections.
Cats will exhibit bleeding crusts, nodules, pain, and hair loss.
Cat acne is different from other skin diseases such as contact dermatitis (such as an allergy to plastic food bowls), mange (demodicosis), Malassezia (a type of yeast) eosinophilic granuloma complex and ringworm (dermatophytosis).
However, it is important to rule out all these cat diseases with proper testing by a vet.
Is Feline acne contagious?
Cat Chin Acne
There is no particular breed of cat that is prone to chin acne. Check out above mentioned symptoms.
Many other skin conditions in cats present with similar symptoms of acne, and it’s significant that your vet excludes more serious problems before beginning treatment or prescribing medication.
As we all know that when some medications if used mistakenly, can aggravate skin conditions.
Cat Acne Treatment
Fortunately, cat acne is not quite a serious condition and is typically very easy to treat with the right medication. Sometimes, it can become annoying to cat owners, who often just want to know how to get shot of cat acne.
In those mild cases, your vet will instruct you to just stop bothering your cat’s acne and keep an eye on the acne so as to call him if you notice any signs of infection.
But, sometimes when your cat has had previous cases of secondary infections of acne, your vet might recommend cat acne wipes to avoid another occurrence of infection.
How long does feline acne last?
Most mild cases of feline acne will not necessitate treatment. The cat acne, though, will clear up by itself within a couple of weeks or so.
There may be chronic cases of cat acne or that comes back repeatedly, the vet would work with owners to plan a maintenance schedule that will prevent the cat from having frequent outbreaks.
This will possibly involve cleaning the acne site once a week or so with an antimicrobial solution like chlorhexidine or betadine. Use Chlorhexidine with utmost care near the eyes as it can cause severe ocular damage.
When the acne outburst is severe with infection, vets suggest antibiotics (topical, oral, or injectable) or corticosteroids as an adjunct to other treatments.