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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 24465
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience.
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My cat has a rash under his chin that looks like coffee

Customer Question

my cat has a rash under his chin that looks like coffee grounds
what is it?
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.
I believe that you're describing the comedones of feline acne. Can you upload a closepup photo(s) of Chico's chin to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (if you can see the icon) or you can use an external app such as dropbox.com/ I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing. Feline acne is a disorder of follicular keratinization and glandular hyperplasia. It's common in cats. Asymptomatic comedones (blackheads) form on the chin, the lower lip, and occasionally, the upper lip. Papules and pustules and, rarely, furunculosis and cellulitis may develop if lesions become secondarily infected. In severe cases, affected skin may become edematous, thickened, cystic, or scarred. Here's a primer on how to treat feline acne:1) Any secondary bacterial infection should be treated with appropriate systemic antibiotics for at least 2-3 weeks. Malassezia (yeast) should be treated with fluconazole for 30 days. Antibiotics of choice are potentiated amoxicillin (Clavamox) or enrofloxacin (Baytril).2) Hairs around lesions should be clipped, warm water compresses applied, and affected areas cleansed with human alcohol-free acne pads, or with benzoyl peroxide-, sulfur-salicylic acid-, or ethyl lactate-containing shampoo every 1-2 days until lesions resolve, then as needed for maintenance control. These shampoo can be found over the counter in pet/feed stores or at Chico's vet’s office. Often frequent chin cleaning (every 2-3 days) is needed to prevent relapses.3) Alternative topical products that may be effective when used every 1-3 days or on an as-needed basis include the following:Mupirocin ointment or cream (prescription drug)2.5% benzoyl peroxide gel (might be irritating in some cats/over the counter product)0.01-0.025% tretinoin cream or lotion (prescription drug)0.75% metronidazole gel (prescription drug)Clindamycin-, erythromycin-, or tetracycline-containing topicals (prescription drugs)4) For severe refractory cases, systemic vitamin A therapy may be effective.The prognosis is good, but lifelong symptomatic treatment is often necessary for control. Unless secondary infection occurs this is a cosmetic disease that doesn't affect Chico's quality of life. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

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