are times when I receive a letter from one of my
readers, and from their description I become absolutely
sure I know what is wrong with their companion. Of
course, this may be quite delusional on my part, but
since I seldom find out the outcome of the case, I will
choose to continue in that vein. Today’s letter is a
is 6 years old and lives as an indoor cat with four
two-legged companions. She lives a fairly sedate life
with very little exercise other than moving from several
different spots in the house to the kitchen, where her
food bowl resides. She is fed a meal twice daily, and
the reader assures me she is carrying the perfect weight
for her large bone structure. Camille has been without
health problems for her six years — at least up until
the last month or so.
one month ago, Camille began to develop a small reddish
lump on her chin. The lump became fairly prominent
initially then began to regress. It has now returned and
appears to be multiplying. Camille did not originally
appear to be bothered by this lesion, but lately she has
begun to scratch the area with her back feet to the
point now that there is some bleeding.
is almost always the case, there are several possible
underlying causes for Camille’s chin lesion. I
certainly have a strong single suspicion, but it does
not stop me from realizing that, as always, a definitive
diagnosis is necessary. In Camille’s case, that should
involve culturing the area for bacteria to find out if
there is indeed a bacterial infection. This could be a
primary infection meaning that the problem is first and
foremost bacterial or it might be secondary.
secondary infection can result from anything that might
cause an insult to the skin under the chin. Bacteria can
then get in where they do not belong and start an
very important diagnostic step in this case involves
biopsy of the skin under the chin. A small sample
removed from the area can be microscopically examined to
determine the cause of the lesion. I believe this will
reveal a problem we term feline acne.
acne is a condition that produces lesions called
pustules that resemble large pimples as seen in people.
They most commonly occur under the chin in cats. These
lesions can be infected with bacteria, although many
times they are not.
for this condition can be multi-factorial. The cases
that are infected will sometimes respond to antibiotic
use based on testing that identifies the offending
bacteria and the best antibiotic to use against it.
often, the lesion needs to be opened surgically and
vigorously scrubbed to eliminate the pustular structure.
The area is left open to heal and the caretaker is
instructed to follow up with a special scrubbing
solution and antibiotics.
with aggressive treatment, these lesions can return,
although if caught early upon recurrence, home care
alone may be adequate.
my opinion concerning Camille and her chin lesion will