Differences between Dog and Cat Acne

by Dr. Chris

February 8, 2010 Many pet owners experience acne on their dogs or cats at some point. And while most of these lesions are minor, anytime you see a problem with your pet it can be upsetting. Here are some differences between dog and cat acne, and some things that you can do to prevent its occurrence in the future.

1. Age Difference

Canine acne is often limited to younger dogs and breeds that have short coats. This is a chronic inflammatory disorder that mostly happens to young dogs and is located on the chin and the lips. It appears around the time of puberty and usually disappears by one year of age.

Feline acne however is not just confined to kittens, adult cats can experience this condition as well. This is often caused by an unknown disorder and often is a problem with keratinization.

There is no gender disposition for dogs or cats.

2. Breed Disposition

The breeds that most commonly experience acne are Doberman pinschers, English Bulldogs, Great Danes, Weimaraners, Mastiffs, Rottweilers, and German Shorthaired Pointers.

In cats there is no breed predisposition for acne.

3. Physical Exam Findings

Normally you see red bumps and blackheads. In cases of infections you might see pus and some bloody discharge and crusting.

4. Causes

Dog acne is thought to be triggered by trauma to the area or breed predisposition.

For cats, acne often breaks out because of stress or anything that can decreasing the amount of daily grooming they do.

What Else Could It Be?

Is important that you figure out the true cause of the problem because many diseases often look alike. Other similar diseases that could have an acne like appearance include demodicosis, ringworm, puppy strangles, and contact dermatitis.


For dogs it is important minimize trauma to the chin area. Most mild cases are treated topically with benzoyl peroxide gel (Oxydex), mupirocin (Bactoderm) and even topical glucocorticoids like Synotic.

Cats often benefit from switching from a plastic bowl to a stainless steel bowl

In some severe cases systemic oral antibiotics might be needed like cephalexin or Clavamox.

In tough cases of feline acne
that constantly recur there has been some evidence that they may benefit from systemic isotretinoin.


Prognosis is good for both dogs and cats. With only a very few pets needing long-term or continuous treatment.

To read more blog posts go here: Veterinary Blog

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