April 2009 Issue

Acne: All Cats Are at Risk

Although this unsightly condition is usually harmless, you shouldn't simply ignore it. Here's why.

Despite its typical durability, a catís skin is subject to a wide array of disorders. Most of these conditions, in themselves, are of minor consequence and readily treatable. But all of them merit examination by a veterinarian, since they can signal the presence of a serious infection or other potentially life threatening systemic health problem. Among the various feline skin conditions that might be overlooked ó or ignored ó by an owner is acne. This disorder, characterized by the emergence of tiny black eruptions (blackheads) on a catís chin and lips, is a condition that can afflict both male and female cats of all ages and breeds. The presence of blackheads usually amounts to nothing more than a cosmetic problem, says William H. Miller, Jr., VMD, a professor of dermatology and medical director of the Companion Animal Hospital at Cornell Universityís College of Veterinary Medicine. However, he points out, feline acne ó which appears only on an affected catís face ó can evolve into a serious health issue if the benign blackheads turn into pus-filled boils (furuncles) that may signal the presence of a deep-seated bacterial or fungal infection.

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