Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

What is Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma?

Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in dogs is a skin condition that is characterized by lesions on the dog’s skin. These lesions do not cause any itching or pain unless they become infected due to a secondary infection. 

This skin irritation can look differently on every dog, and looks like an allergic reaction at first. However, the dog does not normally scratch or seem in much discomfort. This condition is often mistaken for other conditions, such as an allergic reaction or parasite infestation. Only a veterinarian, through tests, can determine the exact cause for the disorder. 

The bumps on a dog’s skin may also become infected or severely irritated due to secondary infections, and through a thorough examination from a physician, any infection can be considered to be, in fact, secondary. It is very important that any dog owner make an appointment with a veterinarian as soon as any bumps or skin irritation are noticed to rule out any other conditions.

Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma is an uncommon skin disorder in dogs that is known to be an immune-mediated disease. It commonly occurs in specific dog breeds, and is known to also be genetic.

Symptoms of Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

  • Lesions
  • Papules
  • Nodules
  • Irritated skin
  • Infected bumps on skin


Certain breeds are more commonly affected than others with this disease. Breeds that are predisposed are:

  • Boxer
  • Collie
  • Golden Retriever
  • Great Dane
  • Other short-coated, large breeds

Causes of Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

This disease is referred to as being “idiopathic”, which generally means the cause is unknown. Causes may include:

  • Genetics
  • Predisposition according to specific breeds
  • Immune-mediated
  • Autoimmune disorder

Diagnosis of Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

If you notice skin lesions on your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian. Your medical professional may discuss with you several things. He may ask several different questions about your dog’s symptoms, such as if he seems to be scratching his skin, when the skin irritation began, if your dog has eaten foods that are different from his usual diet, and other questions about his symptoms. 

Your veterinarian will begin the examination by looking at your dog’s skin and the affected areas.  He may then choose to take blood work, a urinalysis, and a biochemistry profile. Once the results come back, he will know how to move forward.

One action your veterinarian may take is to test the skin lesions. He may want to look for parasites or infections. The medical professional may test for any bacterial or fungal infections by performing a skin test. This occurs when a very small patch of skin is sent to a laboratory to be tested, and will alert the veterinarian to precisely what is causing the skin lesions. He may perform a fine needle aspirate for cytology testing instead of a skin test; this will depend on how your veterinarian chooses to come to a diagnosis. A tissue biopsy may also be performed.

The amount of testing of your dog’s skin may seem alarming, but this is to be sure that your medical professional can come to a conclusive diagnosis.

Treatment of Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

Treatment for your dog’s skin condition will depend on the exact cause. If your dog is diagnosed with Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma, the following treatment options will be considered.


Removal of the skin lesions may be preferred by the veterinarian. This will be conducted on an outpatient basis rather than keeping your dog overnight.


If your dog has open lesions which have ulcerated, hydrotherapy can help keep the lesions clean to prevent any infection. Your veterinarian will explain how you can do this therapy at home.

Dietary Changes

Your veterinarian may recommend a diet that is low in fat. This may not be the same for every diagnosis; this depends on the severity and length of your dog’s condition.


Your medical professional may recommend prednisone therapy for your dog. There are different medications for this condition, such as Azathioprine, doxycycline, or L-asparaginase.  These medications may be in the form of a topical ointment or by giving specific dosages of medications before his meals.

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Recovery of Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma in Dogs

Once your dog has been diagnosed with Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma, your veterinarian will give you instructions on how to care for him at home. Recovery is dependent upon the severity of your companion’s condition, and it will be important for you to follow you medical professional’s instructions on at-home care. 

If you have any questions about your dog’s medication or how to apply it, call your veterinarian and ask him anything you need to be aware of. He will be there to guide you in helping your dog recover.  It is also very important to keep any follow-up appointments to be sure your dog is responding to treatment.

Idiopathic Sterile Granuloma and Pyogranuloma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


mixed terrier




5 Years


2 found this helpful


2 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Can this disease effect the joints? My dog was just diagnosed with this but also has a limp now. I wondered if this has anything to do with it or is it a separate issue. What is the treatment for this besides steroids? Is there a cure or you just always have to give steroids?

May 21, 2018

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

2 Recommendations

This disease tends to respond well to steroids, and while it doesn't usually affect the joints, it can affect the tissue around the joints. If Bailey is limping, and this is a new problem, it would be best to follow up with your veterinarian, as they will know his full history and be able to examine him. I hope that he does well.

May 21, 2018

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Great Dane




7 Years


1 found this helpful


1 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Limping, Biting Toe/Nail, Dry Paw
My dog started limping a few days ago, and I got told that he was biting his toe. We just moved into an apartment and it is on the 3rd floor. Max had a lot of trouble going upstairs, so my boyfriend had to help him. He can't step on his right, hind leg so he limps. We sat him down and pressed on a toe a certain way until we noticed that he was in pain since he jerked his leg around. Any ideas of what it could be? ANY help would be great.

Sept. 5, 2017

1 Recommendations

Depending on how you press you can get the same response from a perfectly healthy dog (or human if you press in the right way); limping may be caused by many different factors and squeezing the toe is not diagnostically useful unless evaluated with the rest of the limb and body. Sprains, hip disorders, spinal disorders, trauma, nerve damage and other causes may all lead to limping; allow Maximus to rest and try to stop him from biting at it, if there is no improvement visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Sept. 5, 2017

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