Here at Snelgrove Vet Services, we often receive calls from cat owners concerned that their cats have “dirty” chins or “weird, black dots” on their chin. Sounds bizarre, right? Actually, this is a very common complaint in the world of feline medicine! More often than not, it is simply a case of feline chin acne. That’s right, a cat can get acne, just like a human! This condition can appear at any age, in both male and female cats, and the severity can range from small “blackheads” to inflamed crusty lesions or even painful pustules, all of which can appear on the chin, as well as the upper and lower lips. Luckily, this condition is typically easy to diagnose and treat, although some cases can be more extreme than others.
While the official cause of feline chin acne is up for debate, there are several contributing factors that are universally agreed upon within the veterinary community:
- Poor Grooming Habits
- Stress or Hormone Changes
- Bacterial Overload
- Overproduction of Sebum (natural oils produced by skin)
- Coinciding Infection or Disease
Diagnosis of feline chin acne is based on both clinical signs, as well as the cat’s medical history. When you bring your cat in for a physical exam, the doctor will want to rule out alternative causes, such as fungal or bacterial infections, or fleas or mites. With more severe cases that present larger lesions or pustules, the doctor may feel that biopsies, cultures or skin scrapings could also be necessary.
Following diagnosis, treatment and control of feline chin acne ranges. Often, simply changing from a plastic food bowl or scoop to something that is stainless steel, glass or ceramic can resolve chin acne. Other times, a veterinary recommended cleanser or fatty acid supplement is enough. In the more severe cases, antibiotics or prescription strength topicals can do the trick. As always, never, ever use human products or prescriptions on your pet. Their skin is very different from ours and sometimes good intentions can create even more problems for your furry family member!
When it comes to feline chin acne, the key to a quick recovery is early diagnosis and treatment. If you notice that your cat has a “dirty” chin, give us a call to set up an appointment. Timely treatment reduces the risk of secondary infections, and will get your kitty feeling back-to-normal a lot quicker!
If you have any additional questions regarding feline chin acne, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 905-846-3316
Thank you for reading,