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If you’ve ever owned a dog, you’ve probably encountered a sebaceous cyst at some point.
They’re small, round bumps that can form on your dog’s skin, and while they’re not usually harmful, they can be pretty unsightly.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss what sebaceous cysts are, how to spot them, and what you can do to treat them.
Table Of Contents
- What are sebaceous cysts in dogs?
- Symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs
- What Causes a Sebaceous Cyst?
- Are They Dangerous?
- Should a Dog’s Sebaceous Cyst Be Removed?
- The Difference Between Sebaceous Cysts and Follicular Cysts in Dogs
- How will the vet diagnose a sebaceous cyst
- Sebaceous Cyst Dog Treatment
- How to Prevent Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are sebaceous cysts in dogs?
A sebaceous cyst is a small, round lump that forms under a dog’s skin. The cysts are caused by the buildup of sebum, a waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands. These glands are found in all areas of the body but are most common on the head, neck, and back.
Sebaceous cysts are not cancerous and do not pose a serious health threat to dogs. However, they can be uncomfortable and may cause a dog to itch or scratch excessively. Infected cysts can be painful and may cause inflammation and redness in the area.
In some cases, the cysts can become infected and may need to be treated with antibiotics.
Sebaceous cysts are most commonly seen in dogs over the age of six. However, they can occur in any age group. There is no known cause of sebaceous cysts, but they are thought to be genetic.
Certain breeds of dogs, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Shih Tzus, are more prone to developing sebaceous cysts than others.
Sebaceous cysts are usually small, round and firm to the touch. They are typically white or yellow in color and have a smooth surface. The cysts can range in size from a few millimeters to several centimeters.
If a sebaceous cyst becomes infected, it is important to seek veterinary care. Untreated infections can lead to serious health problems, such as blood poisoning.
Sebaceous cysts are usually diagnosed based on their appearance. In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other conditions, such as skin infections or tumors.
There is no one specific treatment for sebaceous cysts. In most cases, the cysts will eventually resolve on their own. However, if the cysts are large, uncomfortable, or infected, they may need to be surgically removed.
Sebaceous cysts are a relatively common condition in dogs. However, they are not serious and do not pose a health threat to most dogs.
In most cases, the cysts will eventually go away on their own. If the cysts are large, infected, or causing discomfort, surgical removal may be necessary.
Symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs
Sebaceous cysts can vary in size but are typically small (less than 1 inch in diameter) and round. They are usually found on the dog’s head, neck, or back and often feel like a raised bump under the skin.
Symptoms of sebaceous cysts in dogs include:
- A small, round bump under the skin
- A firm, painless lump
- Irritation and discomfort if the lump is located in an area that is constantly being brushed or Rubbed
If you notice any of these symptoms, please schedule an appointment with your dog’s veterinarian. A definitive diagnosis can be made through a physical examination and fine needle aspiration.
Cysts can be uncomfortable for dogs and may cause them to itch or lick at the affected area. In some cases, the cyst may rupture and release a foul-smelling, oily substance.
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If the cyst is large or inflamed, it may cause difficulty moving or breathing. In rare cases, sebaceous cysts can become cancerous.
What Causes a Sebaceous Cyst?
Most sebaceous cysts form as a result of a clogged sebaceous gland. The sebaceous glands are responsible for producing an oily secretion that helps keep the skin and hair healthy.
When the gland becomes clogged, the oil begins to build up and can eventually form a cyst.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the formation of sebaceous cysts, including:
- Blockages in the hair follicles
Some dog breeds are more prone to developing sebaceous cysts than others, including Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, Shih Tzus, and Yorkshire Terriers. Cysts are also more common in older dogs.
Are They Dangerous?
Most sebaceous cysts are benign, meaning they are not cancerous. However, in some cases, they can become malignant or cancerous.
If you notice a sebaceous cyst on your dog, it is important to have it checked out by a veterinarian. They can usually diagnose a sebaceous cyst by performing a fine needle aspiration or a tissue biopsy.
Should a Dog’s Sebaceous Cyst Be Removed?
While sebaceous cysts are not dangerous, they can be unsightly and may be uncomfortable for your dog. If the cyst ruptures, it can also lead to skin infections. For these reasons, many dog parents choose to have the cyst removed.
Surgical removal is the only way to get rid of a sebaceous cyst. The cyst is cut out, along with a small margin of healthy tissue. The area is then stitched closed.
Sebaceous cysts can re-form, so your dog will need to be monitored for new cysts. There is no way to prevent sebaceous cysts from forming, but regular grooming can help remove dead skin cells and prevent clogged pores.
The Difference Between Sebaceous Cysts and Follicular Cysts in Dogs
There are two types of cysts that can form on a dog’s skin: sebaceous cysts and follicular cysts. Both types of cysts are non-cancerous and usually don’t cause any problems, but they can sometimes become infected.
Sebaceous cysts are caused by clogged sebaceous glands. These glands produce oil that helps keep the skin and coat healthy. When the glands become clogged, the oil can’t escape, and cyst forms.
Follicular cysts are caused by clogged hair follicles. These are the tiny holes in the skin from which hairs grow. When the follicles become clogged, the hair can’t escape, and cyst forms.
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Most cysts are small and don’t cause any problems, but some can grow to be quite large. Cysts can also rupture, which can cause infection. If you think your dog has a cyst, it’s important to have it checked out by a veterinarian.
How will the vet diagnose a sebaceous cyst
Most vets will be able to diagnose a sebaceous cyst based on a physical examination and the dog’s history. The vet will feel the lump and may express some of the contents to check for the typical cheesy material. If the vet is unsure, they may recommend a fine needle aspirate or a biopsy.
- The vet will do a fine needle aspirate to confirm the diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst. This is a simple test that involves inserting a needle into the cyst and withdrawing some of the fluid.
- A biopsy may also be done to confirm the diagnosis. This involves taking a small sample of the cyst tissue and sending it to a laboratory for analysis.
- If the vet is unsure of the diagnosis, they may recommend surgery to remove the cyst. This is usually only done if the cyst is large or if it is located in a difficult-to-reach area.
Sebaceous Cyst Dog Treatment
Sebaceous cysts are fairly common in dogs, and most cases can be resolved with home treatment. However, if the cyst is large, recurrent, or infected, you may need to take your dog to the vet for treatment.
Home treatment for sebaceous cysts includes:
- Applying a warm compress to the area several times a day: This can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
- Gently cleanse the area with a mild shampoo: Be sure to avoid harsh shampoos, as they can further irritate the skin.
- Applying a topical benzoyl peroxide cream: This can help reduce the size of the cyst and speed up healing.
If home treatment does not improve the cyst, or if it becomes infected, you will need to take your dog to the vet.
Treatment options include:
- Surgical removal of the cyst: This is the most effective way to remove a sebaceous cyst.
- Fine needle aspiration: This involves using a needle to remove fluid from the cyst.
- Antibiotics: If the cyst is infected, your vet may prescribe antibiotics.
How to Prevent Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs
There is no sure way to prevent sebaceous cysts, but there are some things you can do to reduce your dog’s risk. These include:
- Keep your dog’s coat healthy and free of tangles. This will help reduce the amount of trauma to the hair follicles.
- Brushing your dog regularly. This will help remove dead skin cells and other debris that can clog the pores.
- Washing your dog with a medicated shampoo. This can help reduce the build-up of oils on the skin.
- Avoiding excessive bathing. This can dry out the skin and lead to irritation.
- Check your dog for lumps and bumps regularly. This will help you catch any cysts early to treat them before they become a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long do sebaceous cysts last on dogs?
Most sebaceous cysts will eventually go away on their own. However, if your dog has multiple cysts or if the cysts are large and causing discomfort, your veterinarian may recommend surgical removal.
What does a sebaceous cyst on a dog look like?
Sebaceous cysts usually appear as small, round, raised bumps on your dog’s skin. They may be white, black, or yellow in color, and they are often crusty or scaly.
Can you pop a sebaceous cyst on a dog?
No, you should not try to pop a sebaceous cyst. This can cause the cyst to become infected.
Which dog breeds are most likely to form sebaceous cysts?
All dogs can develop sebaceous cysts, but they are most common in breeds with short, dense coats, such as Boxers, Cocker Spaniels, and Shih Tzus.
What are the most frequent locations to find sebaceous cysts?
Sebaceous cysts are most commonly found on the head, neck, back, and abdomen.
What should I do if I find a sebaceous cyst on my dog?
If you find a sebaceous cyst on your dog, it is best to have it examined by a veterinarian. They can perform a fine needle aspirate to confirm the diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.
If you think your dog may have a sebaceous cyst, it’s important to have him, or her checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
While most sebaceous cysts are benign, some can be cancerous. A definitive diagnosis can only be made through a biopsy, and treatment will be based on the type of cyst present.
In most cases, sebaceous cysts can be successfully treated with medical or surgical intervention.