Pustules in Cats
Some cats have a single episode of acne; many, have a life-long recurring problem. The frequency and severity of each occurrence, however, varies with each particular animal. In cats, the acne is concentrated on the chin and lower lip. Unfortunately, the cause is unknown, but sex, age, and breed are not determining factors for cat acne.
Symptoms and Types
- Blackheads or whiteheads, mild red pimples, and watery crusts develop on the chin, and less commonly on the lips
- The cat's chin will sometimes swell
- In more severe cases, the cat will develop nodules, bleeding crusts, pustules, hair loss, a severe redness of the skin, and be in pain
- Pain indicates the cat has boils
- Poor grooming
- Abnormalities in the skin surface, oil production, or immune-barrier function
Your veterinarian will want to rule out the following:
- Fungal Infection
- Feline leprosy
- Tumor of the skin (sebaceous) or secretion (apocrine) glands, and other follicular (hair cells) and epidermal neoplasia (tumor of the outer layer of the skin).
He or she may then use the following procedures to confirm the diagnosis:
- Skin scraping — look for mites, fungal infected hairs
- Fungal culture
- A microscopic examination of the cells
- Biopsy — rarely needed, but sometimes necessary
Initially, treatment will involve the use of antibiotics and topical shampoos. If the acne outbreaks in the cat reduce, discontinue treatment by tapering medication over a two- to three-week period. If the episodes are continual or reoccur frequently, an appropriate maintenance schedule will be designed by your veterinarian; life-long treatment twice a week, however, may be necessary.
Living and Management
After the medication is discontinued, monitor your cat for relapses. Maintenance cleansing programs can also be used between relapses to extend the time between episodes.