Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
48 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs - Signs, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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What are Sebaceous Cysts?

Sebaceous cysts are also referred to as sebaceous gland tumors in dogs. These lesions can be found in any age of dog, and can be seen as single growths or occur in multiples. If you see a growth on your pet, consult your veterinarian. Sebaceous cysts can range from a benign problem to a cancerous tumor.

A sebaceous cyst is a common occurrence in dogs. The sebaceous gland contains sebum, with the purpose of lubricating the hair follicles, hair shaft, and skin. Inflammation can occur when cysts form a sac-like growth under the skin or become impacted.

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Sebaceous Cysts Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$650

Symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

The appearance of a sebaceous cyst can vary depending on the type.

  • There may be a raised area of skin or nodule
  • Cysts may be round or elongated
  • Some cysts are slightly mobile under the skin
  • Size can vary from less than ½ an inch to over 2 inches
  • You may see multiple growths
  • There may be inflammation
  • A cyst may become infected
  • A cyst may bleed
  • The cyst may ooze a yellow substance

Types

Sebaceous cysts are prone to secondary infection. It is recommended that you have a veterinarian check any type of growth that may appear on your dog.

  • Sebaceous gland overgrowth or hyperplasia
    • These usually appear on older dogs
    • They present as a shiny lump
    • This type of cyst is most often seen on the head and abdomen
    • Manchester, Wheaton, and Welsh Terriers are prone
  • Sebaceous gland adenoma/epithelioma
    • These are usually found on older dogs
    • The cysts are found on the head and may be infected or covered with crust
    • They can sometimes be found on the eyelid
    • Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed, Husky, Coonhound and English Cocker Spaniel are the breeds that are predisposed
  • Sebaceous gland hamartoma
    • This type of cyst is often noticed after birth
    • They are usually about 2 inches in length or diameter
  • Sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma
    • These are malignant cysts found in middle age to older dogs
    • Males are predisposed
    • Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Cocker Spaniels, Scottish, Cairn and West Highland White Terriers are the most likely breed to have this cyst though it is rare
    • This cyst can metastasize to the lymph nodes and lungs
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Causes of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

Not only can cysts be unsightly, but they can also emit a foul odor or pus. Secondary infection or the possibility of a malignancy are good reasons to have a cyst investigated by the veterinarian.

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Injury or trauma
  • Blockage of a follicle opening (similar to a blocked pore in humans)
  • Insect bite reaction
  • Allergic reaction
  • Follicular inactivity
  • Lack of sebum secretion (for example sebaceous adenitis)
  • Swollen hair follicle
  • Hormonal imbalance
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Diagnosis of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

The veterinarian will carefully check the entire body of your furry family member to determine the location, number, and appearance of the cysts.

Studies have determined that the best method of evaluating the tissues that make up the cyst is histopathology. This involves a microscopic examination of the tissue (removed by needle aspirate for biopsy, or completely extracted surgically) in order to determine the nature of the cyst. Determining the cause, discovering the prognosis, and ruling out other skin conditions are quite possible with histopathology.

 Sebaceous cysts can be expensive to treat. If you suspect your dog has sebaceous cysts or is at risk, start searching for pet insurance today. Brought to you by Pet Insurer, Wag! Wellness lets pet parents compare insurance plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Trupanion. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Treatment of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

Treatment will depend upon the state of the cysts, the number of cysts, and the health condition of your beloved pet.

If the cyst appears to be relatively new in appearance, you and the veterinary caregiver may take a wait and see approach, which basically means delaying any further treatment until the cyst, if it does, develops.

At a later time, the veterinarian may choose to open and drain the cyst and treat it with a topical medication.

If the cyst has ruptured by the time you make the visit to the clinic, the veterinarian may decide to treat any inflammation or infection that is present, and then surgically remove the cyst. Sometimes a cyst might need to be treated for infection first, and then when that is cleared up, have a surgical procedure for removal.

If a cyst is found to be a malignant adenocarcinoma, chemotherapy and radiation will most likely follow the best option, which is surgery.

It should be noted that with sebaceous gland overgrowth or adenoma, recurrence is common. The prognosis of removal is usually good, but the recurrence factor must be kept in mind. Also, if many cysts are present, removal is not an easy task.

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Recovery of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

If the cysts found on your dog are cancerous, then the recovery and management will involve subsequent treatment with follow up appointments to determine if the cancer is being eradicated.

In the case of the simple removal of a few cysts, you will be required to keep the area clean. However, you will be advised not to bathe your dog until the veterinary caregiver gives permission.

Your canine companion may have to wear an Elizabethan collar to prevent him from licking or biting the area as it heals. Check the surgery site daily for swelling, redness or bleeding. Consult with the veterinary team if you are unsure of the condition of the surgery site, or if you feel the wound is not improving. The veterinarian will prescribe additional topical medication or antibiotics if necessary.

Though the area where the cysts were located will eventually heal, it is not uncommon for them to resurface, or for new cysts to appear.

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Sebaceous Cysts Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$650

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Sebaceous Cysts Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Shih Tzu

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Eleven Years

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Unknown severity

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34 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My fur baby Christi is 11 and she have all these bumps all over her body the some bleed She have them everywhere when they bust they bleed

Dec. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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34 Recommendations

Hello, THese are benign warty growths. You can apply triple antibiotic cream to these places. It will not help them stop rupturing and bleeding but will keep them from getting infected. It would be best for your vet to remove them. I once removed 60 of these from one dog.

Dec. 6, 2020

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dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Shih Tzu

dog-age-icon

Seven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

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11 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lump On Stomach

Hi My Shih tzu has almost like a boil on his stomach it looks inflamed it doesn’t seem to bother him or hurt him but it’s really kind of big and I’m not sure what to do

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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11 Recommendations

Hello- Thank you for your question. Without examining the growth it is difficult to say whether it is an area of infection or a skin tumor present. I would recommend scheduling an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to examine the swelling, can perform a fine needle aspirate to look at the cells under the microscope to identify what it is and provide appropriate treatment. If it is a tumor they may recommend removal of it surgically. Take care!

Aug. 6, 2020

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Sebaceous Cysts Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,500

Average Cost

$650

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