What to Do When Your Cat Is Sick: FELINE ACNE

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What to Do When Your Cat Is Sick: FELINE ACNE

Feline acne is a skin condition that occurs on the chin and edges of the lips in affected cats. In its mildest form you will see blackheads that may form in the skin because the cat does not wash the chin thoroughly and/or because of abnormal oil (sebum) secretion of the skin glands in the area. When infection occurs, swelling of the chin may be seen, and in severe cases actual pustules (pus-containing bumps) or small abscesses form. Although mild cases of feline acne respond readily to treatment, you can expect recurrences when treatment is stopped since the underlying cause usually remains.

Home treatment consists of washing the chin of affected cats daily. Use a shampoo containing 2.5% to 3% benzoyl peroxide and rinse thoroughly.

An alternative is to scrub affected areas gently with a cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol once a day (no need to rinse). After improvement, cleaning can be reduced to twice a week to help prevent recurrences.

Cases that don’t respond to home treatment or chins that have become very infected will need to be treated with the help of a veterinarian who can shave your cat’s chin and prescribe antibiotics and/or prescription drugs that modify oil gland secretions if necessary. Some persistent or recurrent cases of feline acne associated with abnormal sebum formation respond to fatty acid supplementation in the diet. Veterinarians can dispense commercial fatty acid supplements or you can try giving your cat 1 teaspoonful (5 ml) poultry fat daily. Lessening of blackhead formation should occur within six weeks if supplementaton is effective.