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Symptoms and Signs of Acne in Dogs

Source: PetWave, Updated on July 16, 2015

Effects of Acne – From The Dog’s Point Of View

Mild outbreaks of acne usually do not cause a dog discomfort. More severe cases, especially those in which the lesions have become infected, impacted, hard and raised, draining or weeping, can be quite painful, however. Scratching at the inflamed area can open the pimples prematurely, promoting the spread of secondary bacterial infection.

Symptoms of Acne – What The Owner Sees

Most people know what acne lesions, known as pimples, look like. Owners of young growing dogs – especially large, short-haired breeds –should keep an eye on the area around their dog’s muzzle, lips and chin. They may notice one or more of the following signs of acne:

  • Mild scabbing
  • Blackheads, also called comedomes
  • Redness and swelling from inflammation of hair follicles, known as folliculitis
  • Small, discreet, solid, elevated skin lesions or bumps called papules
  • Small, elevated, well-circumscribed, pus-filled lesions of the skin called pustules, which usually are thin-walled and rupture easily
  • Furunculosis, which are deep, inflamed, infected, hard, pus-filled lesions of the skin and subcutaneous tissues with a central slough or core; sometimes referred to as boils; almost always caused by secondary bacterial infection
  • Blisters, also called bullae or vesicles
  • Ulcerated draining tracts in the skin
  • Expression of pain when the inflamed area of skin is touched
  • Scarring, thickening and hardening of resolved superficial skin lesions
  • Chronic acne lesions may resolve and recur

Dogs at Increased Risk

Canine acne is particularly common in young, large, short-coated purebred dogs, although it certainly can occur in any breed. While there is no well-recognized gender predisposition to developing acne, some authorities think that it might be more prevalent in neutered males. Breeds that commonly develop puppy acne include the Boxer, Doberman Pinscher, Great Dane, Mastiff, English Bulldog, Weimaraner, German Short-Haired Pointer, Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Pug and Rottweiler. Acne is also somewhat common in Golden Retrievers.

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