Black spots on your cat’s chin?  It could be feline acne

Feline acne is a common skin condition that can affect all breeds and ages of cats.

Most cases are minor and can go away without being noticed.  However, some cases can cause discomfort to your cat as well as the potential for bacterial or fungal infection. Sometimes feline acne can be part of a more complex skin problem going on.

How is it caused?

Cat have a number of glands around their body that they use to leave their scent.  One of these glands is located under their chin.  You may see your cat rubbing their cheeks and chin on furniture, their favourite part of the house and also on you.  You probably won’t notice the secretion from the gland unless it builds up over time and can look like a black or brown greasy stain.

It is not uncommon for cats to present to the vet with black spots on their chin and a greasy appearance to their skin. This is what we refer to as “feline acne” and can be mistaken for flea dirt. Whilst fleas can be one of the inciting causes, there are many other underlying problems that have been associated with these unsightly black spots.

Sometimes the gland can become overactive and we may see defects in the skins structure. Allergies, including those to fleas and food, may be associated as well as immune system defects, stress and anxiety levels in the body and even poor grooming habits in some individuals. It is more noticeable on cats with light coloured chins. and is sometimes confused for flea dirt.

What do I do about it?

For most cats, where the acne is not severe, it is not a problem. It is important to have your cat examined by your veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying issues. Often you can monitor the acne to ensure it is not getting worse and sometimes it will go away on it’s own.  Human acne treatments are not recommended, neither is using a antiseptic cleaner such as Dettol; these can be licked by the cats and may cause toxicity or an ulcerated mouth.  Some cats do better eating and drinking from a ceramic bowl rather than a plastic or metal bowl.

If your cat’s chin is looking red, sore or swollen it is best to come and see us for a veterinary consultation.  There may be an infection and all those signs point to the fact that it will be causing your cat pain.

As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact us.

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