by Maggie Sharp
(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
This picture was taken when Chilli last had Feline Acne.
Last year Chilli got a horrid case of Feline Acne. I'd read about it in the past, but I never imagined it happening to my own cat... Anyway, what happens is the cat will get little black specks in the fur on the chin, it looks kind of like dirt and from a distance it makes that area look black, the skin underneath will be a vibrant red, which looks really irritated.
Over time lumps will appear and they'll pop. Blood will come out and it's quite painful for the cat, especially when he's got an itchy chin...
When Chilli was having urinary issues I took him to the vet and she told me that Feline Acne is caused by bacteria that lives on the skin, the same as when people get pimples, but I can't remember what she said to I was meant to do to treat it, should it come back... It was about July last year that it occurred...
Does anyone know how to treat it? Chilli has the irritated-looking skin and the black specks are everywhere. It's only a matter of time before he gets the lumps... It was horrible last time, and I'm dreading its return. =(
Hi Maggie....Sorry to see that Chilli has a health problem. Thanks for taking a great photo by the way.
I moved your submission to Cat Health Problems. I am not a vet as you might know.
Yes, feline acne is a cause of of bacterial infection on the skin or beneath it. The skin pores are blocked forming black heads or bumps that come to a head. Excess production of sebum or keratin predisposes a cat to feline acne, which is not like human acne.
The blackheads and pimples come to a head and drain pus.
Treatment for feline acne
This comes from Book 1.
Cleaning the skin twice a day with ointment or a gel that contains 2.5% to 5% benzoyl peroxide (in the USA: OxyDex). You can buy this on Amazon. An example of this product is Pyoben Shampoo, which contains the ingredient at the correct percentage.
If excess sebum is a factor the skin should be cleaned with tar and sulfa shampoo for cats. The bacterial infection should or could be treated with antibiotics.
The treatment does not eliminate the underlying cause, which is why it will return.
Other similar types of skin condition (just for the record and for other visitors) are:
The skin is irritated. It is scratched for relief. This causes it to become reddened and sore. What causes the itchy skin? Here are some possibilities:
Caused by the head mite. It burrows into the skin and lays eggs, which hatch causing severe irritation. Scratching can allow the skin to become infected with bacteria. The presence of bacteria would be a secondary health problem.
If it is feline mange then a vet can treat it with insecticides. The disease is zoonotic. link
An allergy to the cat flea can cause scabs and infections exacerbated by scratching due to the irritation. The cure is good flea control. Cortisone treatment is a last resort.
Skin irritation can be caused by contact dermatitis. The secondary health problem could be a bacterial infection due to scratching the area resulting in an open wound and a bacterial infection.
The chin is a particular area at which contact dermatitis might take place as the fur there is thin enough to allow contact with the skin to take place.
What might be the chemical that is causing this? Some examples: Plastic dish (when feeding the chin touches it), detergent (in his bedding), a chemical or dye in the carpet. These are just three examples.
Breathing in pollen or dust for example can cause an allergic reaction. Tests will have to be performed.
See: Cat Skin Problems