Feline acne

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Feline acne
Feline chin acne.JPG
Advanced feline acne
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 Xxx.x
ICD-9-CM xxx

Feline acne is a problem seen in cats primarily involving the formation of blackheads accompanied by inflammation on the cat's chin and surrounding areas.[1][2] In many cases symptoms are mild and the disease does not require treatment.[1] More severe cases, however, may respond slowly to treatment and seriously detract from the health and appearance of the cat. Feline acne can affect cats of any age, sex or breed.[1]

Sebaceous glands are mostly found in the skin of the chin, base of the tail, eyelids, lips, prepuce and scrotum. They are connected to the hair follicles. In acne, the follicles become clogged with black sebaceous material, forming comedones (also known as blackheads). These comedones can become irritated, swollen and infected, leading to pustules. The cats may experience itching and discomfort due to swelling and bacterial growth inside infected glands.[2] Secondary fungal infections (species Malassezia) may also occur.[2]

Other conditions that can cause similar-appearing conditions include skin mites, ringworm, yeast infection, or auto-immune diseases such as eosinophilic granuloma complex ("rodent ulcers").


The main causes of feline acne include:

  • Hyperactive sebaceous glands
  • age of cat – it is common due to hormones in cats between 2–4 years old
  • Poor hygiene
  • Stress
  • Secondary to fungal infection
  • Reactions to medicines
  • Drinking from plastic containers
  • Demodicosis


Topical treatments such as warm compresses to the chin area may be sufficient for mild cases.[3] A veterinarian may be required for treatment if the area becomes secondarily infected with either bacteria or a fungus.[2] Treatment may begin with clinical drainage of the pustules along with a course of oral antibiotics.[2]

One way to assist with clearing the acne is to take an old toothbrush (or one designated for this purpose) and brush the cat's chin. This helps to loosen any debris, and the cats actually tend to enjoy the brushing.


  1. ^ a b c Gross, Thelma Lee; Ihrke, Peter J.; Walder, Emily J.; K. Affolter, Verena (2005). Skin Diseases of the Dog and Cat: Clinical and Histopathologic Diagnosis. Ames, Iowa: Oxford. pp. 437–439. ISBN 978-0-632-06452-6. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Muller, George H.; Kirk, Robert Warren; Scott, Danny W.; Miller, William L.; Griffin, Craig E. (2001). Muller and Kirk's Small animal dermatology. Philadelphia (Pa.): Saunders. pp. 1042–1043. ISBN 978-0-7216-7618-0. 
  3. ^ D. Norsworthy, Gary; Crystal, Mitchell; Grace, Sharon; Patrick Tilley, Larry (2006). The feline patient. Ames, Iowa: Blackwell Publishing. p. 339. ISBN 978-0-7817-6268-7.