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Acne in Cats

Cats may get acne on their lower lips and on the chin, the cause of acne in felines is unknown. It usually looks like a spotty or even swollen chin; often the owner will notice that they can feel crusty or scabby lesions when they stroke their pet under the chin.

Acne in cats is usually on the chin but the lower lips may sometimes be affected. It may look like red spots, papules, or crusty areas and occasionally the chin may swell up markedly. In very severe cases of acne the lesions may look quite aggressive and the hair on the chin may be lost; the cat may also show signs of being in pain.
Some cats may just have one episode of acne in their lifetime, but for many patients it is a recurrent problem which may vary in severity and frequency of recurrence. Poor grooming, an abnormality of sebum production or a keratinization problem of the skin are thought to cause acne in cats.

Usually this condition is easily diagnosed but occasionally a biopsy may be performed. This will allow the vet to ensure that the lesions are not caused by another problem such as ringworm, demodex or a tumour.

This condition is often treated with antibiotics such as enrofloxacin, amoxycillin/ clavulanate or cephalexin. Shampoos, cleansers or other skin treatments (usually gels or ointments) may also be used. These are often products containing ethyl lactate, benzoyl peroxide or sulpher-salicylic acid all of which help with abnormalities of keratinization, but do take care as some of these products can be irritating when used on cats. Shampoos are often applied once or twice a week, at least initially.

The treatment should be used until the lesions have all healed and then gradually reduce the frequency of treatments such as shampoos or ointment applications. Once you and your vet have discovered how often the problem recurs in your cat an individual treatment protocol can be designed to try to keep the condition under control. Often cleansing the chin area regularly with shampoos or ointments may extend the time between relapses of this condition.

The prognosis in these cases is usually quite good but do consider it as possibly a long term problem requiring control of the symptoms rather than a complete cure.

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All Rights Reserved | Content is provided for information only. All content on is protected by copyright and therefore may not be copied without specific written permission from the author. Disclaimer: The content of this website is based upon the opinions of Samantha Coe, unless otherwise stated. Individual articles, extracts, and any links to external sites are based upon the opinions of the respective author(s), who may retain copyright. The information on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a qualified veterinary professional and is not intended as medical advice. The purpose of this site is the sharing of knowledge and information - Samantha Coe encourages you to make informed healthcare decisions for animals in your care based upon your research and in consultation with your vet.