Cat Skin Lumps ? What Do They Mean?

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat veterinary expert Arnold Plotnick, DVM, shares information on the how cat acne can present itself.

By Arnold Plotnick, DVM

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Q: My cat, Spike, is 17 years old this month. He has a lump under his chin that has had drops of blood on it. There's something that looks like a pimple, but it is detached a bit from the skin. This has never happened to him or to any of my other cats so I am freaking out a little bit. I read on the internet that cats do get acne and a lot of sites said to use peroxide on it. That scares me.

He is an indoor cat and really gets frightened when we have to bring him out to the vet. Can I heal this "thing" without compromising his health by not going to the vet?

A: It sounds like your cat has feline acne, a common skin condition in cats. Basically, it is an infection of the hair follicles on your cat's chin. Because it is an infection, it usually responds to antibiotics. Topical medications, such as benzoyl peroxide, metronidazole gel, clindamycin gel or mupirocin ointment, are useful for treating feline acne. If topical therapy isn’t successful, systemic antibiotics usually clear up cat acne.

Clip and clean the chin before applying topical medications. Hot-packing the chin prior to treatment often enhances the efficacy of topical treatment. A warm washcloth, pressed against the chin for a few minutes, will open the pores and allow better penetration of the topical medication.

The ointments and/or antibiotics needed for treatment must be prescribed by your veterinarian, so I don’t think there’s any way to avoid a veterinary visit. Peroxide, while not dangerous, is unlikely to resolve chin acne.
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Reader Comments

CatChannel Editor    Irvine, CA

11/12/2012 10:16:49 AM

Rebecca -- A vet is the best person to tell you about your cat's skin condition. It could be minor acne now, but without treatment might progress into something more serious.

Make an appointment, and at the same time switch Sparrow's feeding station from bowls to plates. Being able to eat without anything touching Sparrow's chin might help the situation. Good luck

Rebecca    Stewartstown, PA

11/11/2012 8:38:34 AM

See my friend has a cat named sparrow and she's the cutest thing and she has those lumps too. Will there be any like infections or things that are bad happen to sparrow if it's not treated?

kathryn    rockton, IL

2/3/2012 2:17:31 PM

ALWAYS SEE THE VET. My cat BIJOUX just had 4 spots removed from his tummy. 2 years ago he had 2 others removed. The first 2 tested negitive. We are waiting on the last 4. These are our best friends/companions. The give unconditional LOVE. My cat comes before me, just as my children.

Rosita    Portland, ME

2/3/2012 2:09:33 PM

An ointment such as that recommended can be purchased OTC at the local drugstore. This "take your cat to the vet" thing can be overdone, don't you think? Not everyone has the money to spare, and some persons might even leave this untreated rather than spend the money at the vet. If an OTC ointment is unsuccessful, then the vet.

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