One day, while petting Marley, I discovered what looked like a patch of dirt on her chin. My instinct told me to wipe it away, but this seemed to cause her great discomfort, which perplexed me. Yet in leaving it alone, it seemed to get worse as the days progressed. After coaxing her into my lap one day, I noticed that the area was becoming inflamed as well. Instead of trying to remove it again, I called her vet and the diagnosis surprised me.
Marley had acne. I know what you’re thinking–acne…in a cat? While it may sound strange, her veterinarian informed me that Feline Acne, also known as “black dust,” is a common problem in cats.
A glandular disorder, acne is caused by overactive skin glands, just like in humans. When these sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, blackheads and pimples form in the clogged pores, leading to the development of acne.
While many other conditions can be mistaken for Feline Acne, there are certain symptoms that are associated with this condition:
- Greasy appearance to the fur around the facial area, particularly the jaw
- Dark spots in the fur around the facial area, particularly the jaw
- Reddening of the skin around the facial area, particularly the jaw
Marley’s vet informed me that, like in humans, acne cannot be cured, but rather controlled. Daily cleansing of the area with antibacterial soap, along with the application of an ointment or gel containing 2.5 to 5 percent benzoyl peroxide, chlorhexidine or povidone-iodine helps to keep the blackheads at bay. Also, the use of stainless steel or ceramic food and water bowls is preferred, as plastic can harbor bacteria that can exacerbate the problem.
If left untreated, a severe case of Feline Acne can develop. In this instance, homecare is not enough; a veterinarian will need to clip the fur around the infected area for deeper cleaning and oral antibiotics may be administered.
As stated, Feline Acne can be mistaken for other conditions, so it is important to take your cat to the vet if your feel he or she has symptoms of any kind.
What about you? Have you ever noticed black specks on your cat’s jaw line? Did you seek veterinarian care, only to find that it is Feline Acne? Share your stories below!