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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 30320
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My cat has what looks like she has a dirty chin. She has had

Customer Question

My cat has what looks like she has a dirty chin. She has had it for more then a month. She is a totally indoor cat and the only change I can think of is the Vet put her on prescription metabolic weight control food.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

Can you upload a photo of Annie's chin to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or you can use an external app such as or I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
its impossible to hold the iPad and keep her still to take a picture.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.

I understand. You'll need help. I suspect that you're looking at feline acne and so I'll post my synopsis of that for you but if you can manage to upload a photo I can be more accurate for you.

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 Annie's vet 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 Annie's quality of life. Please take a look at this site and let me know if Annie's chin looks like what you see on the site:

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
The second slide represents feline acne. You can also google "feline acne image" for variations of this skin disorder.
You're quite welcome.