Does My Cat Have "Stud-Chin" or Chin Acne?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, shares information on diagnosing sores on cats' chins.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM | Posted: December 2, 2011, 3 a.m. EST

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Q: I adopted a female cat who looks like a flame-point Himalayan a year ago who has now developed a sore underneath her chin. I'm familiar with “stud-chin” in cats, so I know to feed her from a stainless steel bowl, and I'm pretty sure that's not the problem.  

I went to my cat's vet last week and my cat got a shot of Convenia and was put on an ointment of Mupirocin. Still, the sore is there. Could it possibly be a food allergy? My cat continues to eat well, plays well and doesn't seem to be bothered by the sore on her chin.

A: I’ve heard of “stud-tail” but never “stud-chin.” I suspect you mean “chin acne.” Chin acne is a bacterial infection of the hair follicles on the chin resulting in cat acne. In the past it has been suggested that a contact allergy to plastic could be a cause of chin acne, with a recommendation that cats be fed from a glass, stainless steel or porcelain food bowl rather than a plastic one. In reality, plastic food bowls are rarely, if ever, the cause of chin acne. The fact the sore on the chin developed despite feeding your cat from a stainless steel bowl is no reason to rule out chin acne as the cause of the sore.

Antibiotics, however, are usually effective at resolving chin acne. The antibiotic your vet chose, Convenia, is an excellent choice for chin acne. The topical antibiotic Mupirocin is also an excellent antibiotic for chin acne. In my experience, the vast majority of cat chin acne cases resolve when this combination of systemic and topical antibiotics is used. I suspected your cat did indeed have chin acne, but the lack of response to this combination makes me question this diagnosis. Food allergy is a possibility, but a single sore on the chin would be a very unusual presentation in a cat with food allergy.  

I’m glad your cat is not bothered by the sore. Whether or not the sore should just be monitored by you at home is something that your cat’s veterinarian needs to decide. If this sore is actually some type of ulcerated skin mass, it may be prudent to consider performing a biopsy or removing it altogether. You should discuss this with your veterinarian.
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Reader Comments

Judi    Calgary, AB

11/9/2012 3:07:53 PM

I have 4 cats. I noticed one day my oldest cat had what looked like little black mites on his chin turns out they were blackheads. A closer look revealed pussy sores and to make it worse the other cats had the same symptoms. All eating from plastic bowls I went out and bought cute china plates with cats on them now there chins don't rub against the bowl sides. They all went on antibiotics and I had to wash each chin with a special solution and water. Kind of like clearisill to keep the dirt and oils at bay. My eldest cat had the worst of it so he still gets a few blackheads as do the others but never as bad as the first time

Amai    Los Angeles, CA

12/22/2011 12:32:48 AM

The sore could be from allergies. My cat has esinophilic granuloma (basically chronic allergies/ stress outbreaks) which manifest with what looks like small wounds on the face, cold sores in mouth or red bumps on chin or head, discharge from paw pad. If its bad she gets a steroid shot. If we catch it early - we either do a course of prednisolone or 5 min soaks with diluted iodine

lea    willis, TX

12/15/2011 9:18:57 PM

need help!!!we adopted a kitty and she loves to stay outdoors she is not even a year old. anyway she has this back stuff under her chin my spouse and me scrub it even with a toothbrush and it comes off but keeps returning over and over i know it is not anything to do with fleas pleasse someone help with a solution

Lisa    Oak Creek, WI

12/8/2011 10:52:03 PM

Thank-you. I have had success with hydrogen peroxide every couple of days. If you use it too often, the skin can ulcerate, so care is needed. Do not use eveyday!

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