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Why Does My Cat Have Acne-Like Bumps on His Neck and Back?

My cat has been displaying acne-like marks around his neck and along his back. What should i do about the discomfort he's been displaying? Carly...

Dr. Eric Barchas  |  Nov 8th 2011


My cat has been displaying acne-like marks around his neck and along his back. What should i do about the discomfort he’s been displaying?

Carly
St. Louis, Mo.

I’d recommend that you start by getting a diagnosis. There is a syndrome called feline acne that causes acne-like scabs, but they’re usually on the chin. The treatment sometimes includes benzoyl peroxide and other treatments similar to those for human acne. Feline acne usually does not cause discomfort.

However, from your description I suspect that your cat doesn’t have true acne. It sounds more likely that he has miliary dermatitis, which is a fancy way of saying flea allergies. In that case, the best tactic is to get rid of the fleas, which is most easily done by using Advantage or Frontline. One warning: If your cat has a severe flea infestation you’ll have to use the products — or any products — for several months before the problem will be completely solved.

I recommend that you take your cat to the vet for an assessment.