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How to Deal with Feline Acne -- Know the Facts

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Feline acne is a common problem seen in cats. It is found on the cat's chin & lips. It is generally accepted that this is caused by plastic bowls and for many cats the solution is simply substituting the plastic bowl for a stainless steel bowl or a glass bowl. The problem may be caused by the inability of the cat to clean his chin properly after drinking the milk resulting in a nutrient rich habitat for bacteria.

Several factors appear to be associated with its development including stress, a suppressed immune system, poor grooming habits, the presence of other diseases, contact or atopic dermatitis, and skin conditions in which abnormal amounts of oils are produced. Feline acne is more common during the spring and fall shedding seasons, because this is when the body undergoes a cleansing process.

In spite of what you see in cartoons, cats do not possess the same diet that humans have. So don't feed your cat human food. It's important that you give your pet the food he truly needs.

Cats may also experience acne breakouts simply because they come in contact with fabrics or objects that are highly irritable to their skin. Find out what the allergens are and keep them away from your pet.

It is important to keep the affected area clean, and several topical treatments can help remove the accumulated waste material from the skin. A cotton ball soaked in peroxide or vinegar is often suggested for cleaning the area, but vinegar should be used with caution because it could be irritating if the skin is raw. Benzoyl peroxide shampoo used twice a week can also keep the acne under control, and is one of the most common treatments recommended by veterinarians. Washing the chin daily with an antibiotic soap can clear the skin of built-up oil and dirt, and using an antibiotic or anti-fungal topical ointment can prevent the pores from becoming clogged. Daily cleaning of a cat's chin using lukewarm salt water can also help reduce the risk of infection.

Sometimes, supplementation with fatty acids is beneficial in this type of treatment. Retin-A can be used but it can be applied very rare as it can leads to irritation. Oral retinoid therapy and teratogenic can be given to treat the feline acne in cats. Any underlying conditions such as ringworm, a Demodex infestation, or a yeast infection should be treated appropriately.

The doctor may prescribe some additional treatment for feline acne, depending on the severity of the infection. However if you are suffering from a mild infection where there are only a few blackheads or specks of dark skin discharge, it may go off automatically. Impressing upon the patient that the treatment should be continued till the last lesion has disappeared. In this respect, the scalp should not be forgotten. The relapse rate is low, if the attack is completely controlled.

Feline acne is usually treated topically with either a shampoo containing benzoyl peroxide or a vitamin A ointment. Oral antibiotics or corticosteroids are sometimes used when topical treatments do not clear up feline acne.

It is recommended that you decrease your daily intake of caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates. There have been some clinical studies showing that caffeine can increase the levels of stress hormones inside your body, provoking or worsening acne conditions. This means you should cut back on your consumption of tea, coffee, chocolate and other beverages containing caffeine. The same advice goes for sugar and refined carbs. For instance white bread, rice, flour, and pasta can result in an insulin surge, resulting further in an excess of male hormones that stimulate skin to discharge lots of sebum, which in turn leads to clogged pores allowing bacteria to grow and acne to appear.

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Peter Hutch

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