Sebaceous Cyst Removal in Dogs

Written By hannah hollinger
Published: 12/13/2016Updated: 10/08/2021
Veterinary reviewed by Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS
Sebaceous Cyst Removal in Dogs - Conditions Treated, Procedure, Efficacy, Recovery, Cost, Considerations, Prevention
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What is Sebaceous Cyst Removal?

A sebaceous cysts removal treatment in dogs is a surgical procedure used to remove a cysts on the skin’s surface. Sebaceous cysts are often removed with a scalpel blade in veterinary medicine, but can be resolved using surgical laser orcryotherapy. Surgical blade removal is the most common form of sebaceous cyst removal treatment. Sebaceous cysts should only be removed by a licensed veterinarian or veterinary dermatologist. 

Sebaceous Cyst Removal Procedure in Dogs

Preoperative blood work will be obtained from the canine patient to ensure a clean bill of health. The canine may be fasting, but local anesthetic patients will not be required to do so. 

  1. The cyst and surrounding area will be palpated to confirm location. 
  2. Using a skin marker, the vet will draw an ellipse over the cyst as a guide for his/her incision. 
  3. Local anesthetic will be injected around the cyst to provide an anesthetic block, which blocks the nerve receptions in one located area. The general choice of local anesthetic combination is 2% lignocaine with adrenaline. (variable) 
  4. The surgical area will be clipped and cleaned with an antiseptic solution containing chlorhexidine or Betadine.
  5. The area of the dog that is not a part of the surgical procedure will be covered with a sterile drape(s). 
  6. Using a scalpel blade, the first incision will be made through the subcutaneous tissues. 
  7. A blunt dissection is then made to identify the plane between cyst and regular subcutaneous tissue. 
  8. The vet will then remove 25% of the cyst circumference using blunt dissection technique. 
  9. Using his/her thumbs, the vet will apply gentle pressure to the surrounding tissues to encourage the cyst to elevate from the dissection. 
  10. The cyst will be grasped with forceps and surgical scissors will separate the cyst’s deep pole.  
  11. Bleeding will be managed and non-absorbable sutures will be placed, closing the incision opening. 
  12. Saline solution will be used to clean the surgical area after closure.

Efficacy of Sebaceous Cyst Removal in Dogs

The efficacy of sebaceous cyst removal in dogs is variable, as the location and number of cysts compromises the overall resulting prognosis. Canines that only present one sebaceous cyst in a location on the body that is not rich with nerves or blood has a great prognosis. However, problems arise when a dog presents multiple cysts or a sebaceous cyst on the face, eyes, neck or the inner thighs. 

Cysts may recur if the entire sac was not removed.

Sebaceous Cyst Removal Recovery in Dogs

A dog that has undergone a sebaceous cyst removal will be sent home with an antibiotic to prevent infection and an Elizabethan collar to prevent manipulation of the surgical site. The surgical site will need to remain clean and exercise restrictions for the dog may be placed. If non-absorbable sutures were placed to close the surgical opening, a secondary appointment will need to be scheduled to have the sutures removed. 

Cost of Sebaceous Cyst Removal in Dogs

The average cost of removing a sebaceous cyst from a dog can vary depending on the dog's size, cyst's size and technique used. Cost will range from $250 to $400. If your dog has multiple cysts or if the cyst is located in a challenging area, such as the face, the price may increase.

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Dog Sebaceous Cyst Removal Considerations

If a general anaesthetic is involved, these carry an inherent risk. Discuss with your vet what risk your dog would be at, as it depends on factors including a dog's age and health status.

As with all surgical procedures, haemorrhaging is a possible risk, but can be limited by removing blood thinners prior to surgery and minimising exercise after. 

Sebaceous cysts lie deep into the layers of the skin, which poses a risk for bacterial infection. Ensure your dog cannot lick or chew at the wound when it heals.

Lastly, an incomplete removal of the cyst can cause the affected area to develop into a lesion or reoccur shortly after removal.

Sebaceous Cyst Removal Prevention in Dogs

It is likely that the occurrence of sebaceous cysts has a large genetic component. Sebaceous cysts can affect a canine for unknown reasons that cannot be controlled, however, there are a few factors that veterinarians advise as methods of prevention. 

  • Diet: A balanced diet is the best way to keep your dog’s health in check and that includes his skin. 
  • Hygiene: Grooming your dog will help spread the sebaceous oils throughout the hair coat, while bathing will keep the amount of oil to a minimum. 
  • Routine veterinary check-ups: visiting the veterinarian at least once a year will help catch skin problems early and will aid in preventing future problems from occurring.

Sebaceous Cyst Removal Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals


Doberman Pinscher



Five Years


10 found this helpful


10 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Licking, Lump, Pus, Swelling
Sebaceous cyst on outside right back hip, vet is saying it’s going to cost $1500 to remove? Does anyone know if that is industry average? About size of golfball

April 30, 2021

Answered by Dr. Sara O. DVM

10 Recommendations

Hello, depending on where you live and what all is induced in the price this may be normal. Many times this includes bloodwork and histopath of the mass.

April 30, 2021

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terrier mix



Twelve Years


26 found this helpful


26 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
My female terrier mix has a cyst on her neck that is sometimes filled. It is currently empty but she has surgery scheduled to remove it. I don’t want to put her through surgery if it’s unnecessary. It doesn’t seem to bother her. What should I do?

Nov. 19, 2020

Answered by Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

26 Recommendations

Vets wouldn't often recommend unnecessary surgery. We typically advise cyst removal if the cyst is large, in an awkward place or continuing to fill. There is a risk of secondary infection. It may also be your vet's intention to have the removed tissue analysed to ensure it is nothing more sinister.

Nov. 19, 2020

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