(KCBS) – It’s often considered a problem for teenagers, but cats can actually suffer from acne, too.

“Any cat can acquire acne,” confirmed Dr. Jack Aldridge, Director of Veterinary Services at the San Francisco SPCA. “Now sometimes it’s just one episode, or outbreaks can occur throughout the cat’s life.”

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“In most cases it appears in the triangular area under a cat’s chin and lower lip,” he described. “The acne occurs when hair follicles become clogged or inflamed. These small, oily plugs that look like blackheads appear on the cat’s chin. There may also be raised lesions and infected puss nodes that become enflamed and red.”

“The infection’s localized but the area can become quite bloody and scabby,” Aldridge warned, “as the cat scratches his chin to relieve the itching.”

It’s believed feline acne is often because of a build-up of dirt, as cats can experience difficulty in grooming their chins. Accumulation of food particles may also contribute to the condition. Cats also “label” their territory by running their chins against objects, exposing the oil glands in this region to contact with potentially irritating or allergenic substances.

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“Many veterinarians think plastic food and water dishes may contribute because scratched plastic surfaces harbor bacteria and they recommend that only stainless steel, glass or ceramic dishes be used,” Aldridge offered.

KCBS’ Jeff Bell Reports:

Mild cases of feline acne generally respond to a deep cleansing and rinsing, often with an approved bacterial-fighting soap or shampoo. More serious cases are treated with topical antibiotics.

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