Feline acne–not just for adolescent cats

Feline acne is a fairly common problem seen in many cats. It can be caused from clogged hair follicles resulting in the development of blackheads, most commonly appearing on the chin or areas around the lower lips. Very often crusting and/or varying degrees of pus and blackish/brownish discharge may also be present. Some cats will even develop large boil-like swellings and eruptions on the chin.

Many years ago it was thought that feeding out of plastic dishes was a major factor in chin eruptions and/or acne in cats or dogs. However, today most dishes are not made with irritating types of plastic, thus suggesting that plastic dishes are not a major factor in the development of acne. If hair follicles rupture, this may lead to a foreign body type of reaction in the skin of the chin and secondary deep infection or furunculosis.

While many cases of mild feline acne do not to be treated, in other cases both topical and systemic therapy may be indicated, especially if secondary infection develops. Dilute solutions or ointment/gels of 2.5% benzoyl peroxide applied topically to the chin may help dry out these annoying eruptions. Oxydex has long been a favorite product here. Topical antibacterial treatments such as Bactoderm (mupirocin) cream also may be helpful. Many cats with severe acne may need several weeks of oral antibiotics. Recently 2 week injections of the antibiotic Convenia have also proven quite helpful in many cats, especially if the cat is difficult to medicate.