Acne in Dogs

Overview of Canine Acne

Canine acne is a benign self-limiting disease of the chin and lips of young dogs. Short-coated dogs, such as boxers, bulldogs and rottweilers, are at increased risk for acne. The condition starts at puberty around 5 to 8 months of age. Most dogs improve with age and the condition typically resolves after one year of age.

The exact pathogenesis has not been established. Genetics, hormones and trauma have been hypothesized to play a role.

What to Watch For

Signs of Acne in Dogs may include:

Diagnosis of Acne in Dogs

A clinical diagnosis of acne is usually made considering the breed, the age of onset and appearance of the lesions. However, there are other diseases that may look similar to acne that need to be ruled out.

Treatment of Acne in Dogs

The treatment for acne is typically topical treatment. Some gels are similar to those people use for acne, like benzoyl peroxide. It is important that you use only the products recommended by your veterinarian, as your dog’s skin is thinner and more sensitive than yours. The average product containing benzoyl peroxide for human acne contains 10 percent benzoyl peroxide while the maximum concentration that could be used on a dog is 5 percent.

Some treatments may include:

Home Care

Trauma should be avoided to limit scar formation. You may be required to apply antibacterial lotions or ointments.

In-Depth Information on Canine Acne

Acne is a disease of young dogs of short-coated breeds. Dobermans, bulldogs, Great Danes, boxers, German shorthaired pointers and rottweilers appear to be over-represented.

This disease is a localized folliculitis, which is an inflammation of the hair follicle, and furunculosis or rupture of the hair follicle restricted to the chin and lips. Comedones are the first lesions noted on the chin. They result from follicular dilation and plugging with excessive keratin formation. Erythema and alopecia may be present in more advanced cases.

Papules, pustules, firm nodules and fistulous tracts may develop as a consequence of a bacterial infection such as folliculitis and furunculosis. Lesions ulcerate and discharge a purulent exudate. Swelling of the chin is variable but it could be severe in some animals.

Regional lymphadenopathy may be prominent and pain and itchiness may be intense in animals with a secondary skin infection. Cysts may develop in chronic cases.

Clinical Presentation of Dogs with Acne

Causes of Acne in Dogs

Onset of the disease occurs between 5 and 12 months of age. Acne in dogs tends to improve with age. Occasionally, it may persist in adulthood. The exact pathogenesis (development of disease) is unknown, but several theories have been formulated, such as the following:

Diagnosis In-depth of Canine Acne

Diagnosis of chin acne is based on history and clinical signs. Additional tests may include:

Treatment In-depth of Canine Acne

In mild cases topical therapy may be sufficient. Topical therapy should be done gently, but avoid aggressive scrubbing of the lesions to limit scar formation.