(Also called chin or muzzle folliculitis, or furunculosis)

Note for Pet Owners:

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

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Canine acne is uncommon and it  involves the muzzle of the face. It occurs in young dogs, hence the popular name for this condition, however the underlying cause is unknown and the main features of the disease are not be similar to acne in adolescent humans. 

Acne in dogs is caused by abnormal keratinisation within the hair follicles which results in deep folliculitis and furunculosis, however the precise cause is unknown. Some authors have suggested that trauma might be the underlying cause - eg puppies rubbing their muzzles along the ground.


Breed Occurrence
Canine acne has been reported to occur in neutered male and female dogs as well as entire males, but it is rare in long-coated breeds.

The following short-haired breeds are reported to be most often affected :

  • Boxers
  • Doberman Pinschers
  • English Bulldogs
  • German Shorthaired Pointers
  • Great Danes
  • Mastiffs
  • Rottweilers
  • Weimaraners


The signs of canine acne involve the chin and muzzle areas of the face and include :

Histopathological examination of biopsies from early cases reveals :

  • Follicular keratosis
  • Plugging of hair follicles
  • Dilatation of hair follicles
  • Inflammation around hair follicles

Bacterial infection occurs as a secondary change once the follicles ruptures and discharge the serosanguinous fluid that has accumulated. within them

Once the surface of the skin is broken secondary infections can get involved in the lesions.


The diagnosis is made based upon the appearance of the skin lesions and by ruling-out by testing skin scrapings and cultures other possible causes including :

  • Demodex
  • Foreign bodies
  • Ringworm


A variety of treatments can be used including :

  • Cleansing with an anti-seborrhoeic shampoo or gel (eg benzoyl peroxide) to remove skin debris
  • Cleansing with antiseptic solutions eg chlorhexidine
  • Topical antibiotic preparations
  • Systemic antibiotics (for up to 6 weeks) if infection is well established
  • Topical glucocorticoids (if infection is absent)
  • Repeated trauma to the area should be avoided (eg chasing balls along the ground)

Good for most cases.

Long term problems
When the skin lesions heal they can leave scars


Updated January 2016