Stolley Park
Veterinary Hospital

3020 W. Stolley Park Road  Grand Island, Nebraska  68801  
Phone:  308-384-6272   Fax:  308-384-0984

December Newsletter
Feline Acne

Feline acne, also known as “Chin Folliculitis and Furunculosis” (that’s a mouthful!), is a fairly common finding during physical examination of our cat patients. In fact, I find myself saying off-hand “Hey little guy, you have some feline acne!” to the surprise and sometimes alarm of the owner. My almost unconscious comment very frequently leads to a “What did you say?” by the confused pet parent, who was not aware that cats could be plagued with something they expect on a teenager’s face, not their cat’s chin.

Feline acne is found on the chin and upper neck and occasionally the cheeks of any age cat. The lips may or may not be affected. Many owners do not even notice that it is present unless it is fairly severe. Acne on your cat is anything from black debris that is easily scraped off to red bumps with “pimples” like classic acne, to deep, painful infected bumps that cause noticeable swelling of the entire chin.

The cause is usually unknown, although in some cases it may be due to lack of adequate grooming of that particular area. I can imagine that would be a difficult spot to reach! Some experts believe that the type of bowl matters in cases of recurrent acne—those camps believe that plastic is bad, stainless steel good. There is often a bacterial infection present, although not always. It may be itchy, painful, or not noticed at all by your cat.

The question is: Do you treat it?
The answer is:
In mild cases, no treatment is necessary.
However, if more severe (say it’s swollen, or painful), then treatment may be indicated. In these cases, we may recommend clipping and cleaning the area, topical ointments like benzoyl peroxide or Retin-A, and possibly oral antibiotics for several weeks. In some cases, steroids become necessary. Expressing the debris is supported by some and considered detrimental by others (just like in human dermatology!)

So, if you hear one of us mention your cat’s acne, you did not mishear, cats can get pimples! It is nothing to be embarrassed about or a topic to avoid. Your cat could still get a date to the prom, and we can help.