Treating Bacterial Infection From Cat Acne with Mupirocin

Mupirocin is a prescription oral treatment given to cats suffering from certain types of acne. Often this acne is caused from a bacterial infection, resulting in whiteheads and pustules, and the "dirty chin" syndrome: acne that is on the chin. As mupirocin is essentially an antibiotic, it should only be used in cases of acne resulting from a bacterial infection (which is most cases), and it may not have much of an effect on other types.

Causes of Feline Acne

Acne is frequently caused by the build up of oils on the skin, blocking the pores. These blocked pores and oily follicles are a prime breeding ground for bacteria, and many times an infection will spring from it, leading to a case of very nasty acne that can also be quite painful. When an infection occurs, pustules often form, as these are the dead white blood cells coagulating on the skin surface and blocking even more pores. Painful, deep skin cysts may also occur, which, when broken, will bleed. It is not uncommon for a cat with acne to also have scabs, particularly on the chin where the skin is constantly rubbing against surfaces.

The "dirty chin" syndrome in cats occurs when the chin suffers from numerous blackheads and pustules. Of all cat acne, this is the most common type: cats rub their chins and faces against a wide variety of surfaces, either to sniff something or deposit pheromones. Many pet owners even report that rubbing against the plastic pet dish while eating has caused acne, as bacteria builds up on plastic far more than glass. Much chin acne is caused from this exposure to bacteria. Sometimes, curing it is a simple as tossing the plastic food bowl for a glass bowl, or even a disposable paper plate.

How Mupirocin Treats Acne

As acne can be largely associated with bacteria, treatments such as mupirocin (Bactoderm Rx) are called upon to treat the case. For cats, mupirocin is often an oral treatment; however, it can be given topically as well. Mupirocin ointment is administered topically to directly treat the site. It is essentially an antibiotic with calcium added, and is used for a wide variety of uses, including sanitizing animal wounds. Mupirocin works by reducing the bacteria population. Further care such as keeping your cat clean and oil-free may be necessary to further control the acne.

Side Effects

There are not many side effects associated with Mupirocin in cats. However, a few cases have reported severe dryness and irritation. If these occur in your cat, stop administering the medication immediately and call your vet. Overuse of mupirocin cream may chap your cat's skin, so be careful about applying it more than recommended. There appear to be no adverse affects in using Mupirocin in young cats and kittens.

Some cats are also allergic to Mupirocin, so an allergy test should be run before starting treatment. Other topical antibiotics are available if your cat cannot handle mupirocin.

Mupirocin (Bactoderm) is a popular choice when treating acne springing from a bacterial infection, particularly on the chin.