Feline Acne is an extremely common condition affecting the majority of house cats at some point during their life times.
The easiest way for pet owners to check their cat for feline acne is to look at the underside of the cat’s chin. Do you notice what appears to be a blackened and “dirty” section on the chin? These are actually called Comedones (often referred to as Blackheads), which are essentially the discharge caused by the clogging of the connection between the Sebaceous Gland and the Hair Follicle.
While the exact cause of Feline Acne currently remains unknown, experts believe that several factors may affect individual cats prone to Feline Acne, including: a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, skin allergies, food allergies, dysfunctional hair follicles, the use of a plastic food bowl (which can gather bacteria and felines may be allergic to), abnormal production of natural oils, and stress on the affected animal.
Diagnosis of Feline Acne can only be performed by a Veterinarian. It is important to rule out other and more serious conditions such as Demodectic Mange, yeast infections, allergies, ring worm, and other common conditions. An additional skin culture may also be performed if a secondary infection is suspected.
In some moderate cases of feline acne, the Comedones may develop into small abscesses which can break open and then form a tough and irritating crust on the affected area. In severe cases or when left untreated, the area may suffer hair loss, draining tracts, and serious swelling. It is important to understand that Feline Acne may be itchy or irritating for your cat, and their scratching the area will only cause further damage and risks of infection.
Always discuss Feline Acne treatments with your Veterinarian before attempting to treat the affected area yourself. While there is no known cure for Feline Acne, there are a few things that you can do which will reduce the chances of dangerous bacteria reaching the area and further discomfort developing: fatty acid supplements – may be used in order to regulate the production of natural oils, topical Vitamin A – this can help to soothe the affected area but can be quite irritating, cleaning the affected area with antibacterial soap and warm water, and dabbing the area with small amounts of Hydrogen Peroxide.
Feline Acne generally makes its first appearance on the chin, though other areas are often affected, including the base of the tail, eye lids, lips, scrotum, and prepuce (retractable piece of skin covering the genitals).
If you suspect that your cat is suffering from Feline Acne, make an appointment with your Veterinarian as soon as possible. Ruling out more serious conditions and preventing further development of Feline Acne and infections caused by the condition is absolutely necessary.