Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs: What You Need To Know?

If you’re a dog owner, then you may have noticed small, dome-shaped bumps on their skin from time to time. These bumps are sebaceous cysts, and while they are not harmful, they can be unsightly and cause your dog some discomfort. However, this does not mean that you should ignore them! Sebaceous cysts should be treated by a veterinarian to ensure that they do not become infected.

What Are Sebaceous Cysts In A Dog?

Sebaceous cysts are common skin problems in dogs. They are caused by a build-up of sebum, which is an oily substance that lubricates the hair follicles and skin. Sebaceous cysts can be unsightly and uncomfortable for your dog, but they are usually not dangerous.

However, despite the fact that sebaceous cysts are not dangerous, you should still have them treated by a veterinarian. This is because sebaceous cysts can become infected, and an infection can be very serious for your dog.

Symptoms of an infected sebaceous cyst include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Pus or other discharge from the cyst

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should take your dog to the vet right away. They will be able to prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.

In some cases, sebaceous cysts will go away on their own. However, if they do not, your vet may recommend surgery to remove them. Surgery is usually a very simple procedure and can be done under local anesthesia.

Sebaceous cysts are relatively common in dogs, but there is no need to worry. If you think your dog may have a sebaceous cyst, talk to your veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment.

sebaceous cyst dog - dog being held at one ear

Types Of Sebaceous Cysts Found in Dogs

There are different types of sebaceous cysts found in dogs. The three most common types are:

Sebaceous gland overgrowth or hyperplasia

Hyperplasia is an overgrowth of sebaceous glands. It is the most common type of sebaceous gland tumor in dogs. It usually appears as a slow-growing, non-cancerous mass on the skin.

The symptoms of sebaceous gland hyperplasia include:

  • A small, round, firm lump on the skin
  • A lump that is moveable and not attached to underlying structures
  • A lump that is white, tan, pink, or black in color

This type of sebaceous cyst usually develops in older dogs. It is most commonly found on the head, neck, and trunk. To treat hyperplasia, your veterinarian may recommend surgical removal of the mass.

Sebaceous adenoma

A sebaceous adenoma is a slow-growing, non-cancerous tumor of the sebaceous glands. It usually appears as a small, round, firm lump on the skin.

The symptoms of sebaceous adenoma include:

  • A small, round, firm lump on the skin
  • A lump that is moveable and not attached to underlying structures
  • A lump that is white, tan, pink, or black in color

Just like hyperplasia, sebaceous adenoma usually appears in older dogs. To treat this type of sebaceous cyst, your veterinarian may conduct surgery to remove the mass.

Sebaceous gland hamartoma

Sebaceous gland hamartoma is a non-cancerous tumor made up of sebaceous glands and hair follicles. It usually appears as a small, round, firm lump on your dog’s skin.

The symptoms of sebaceous gland hamartoma include:

  • A small, round, firm lump on the skin
  • A lump that is moveable and not attached to underlying structures
  • A lump that is white, tan, pink, or black in color

Sebaceous gland hamartoma usually appears after birth. Treatment for this type of sebaceous cyst typically involves surgical removal of the mass. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional treatment options, such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

Sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma

Sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma is a type of cancer that begins in the sebaceous glands. This type of cancer is relatively rare in dogs but can be aggressive.

The symptoms of sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma include:

  • A mass or lump on the skin
  • A mass that is ulcerated or bleeding
  • A mass that is rapidly growing

Sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma typically requires surgical removal. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional radiation therapy or chemotherapy. The treatment plan will depend on the size and location of the mass, as well as the stage of cancer.

Sebaceous cysts are relatively common in dogs and are usually benign. However, it’s important to have any new masses or lumps checked out by your veterinarian. If you notice any of the symptoms of sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma, be sure to contact your veterinarian right away. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best possible outcomes.

Causes Of Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

There are several things that can cause sebaceous cysts in dogs. The most common cause is a blocked sebaceous gland. The sebaceous gland is a small, oil-producing gland that is found in the skin. The oil produced by the sebaceous gland helps to keep the skin and coat healthy. When the sebaceous gland becomes blocked, the oil accumulates and forms a cyst.

Other causes of sebaceous cysts in dogs include:

Allergies

Allergies can cause the sebaceous glands to become blocked. Allergies can be caused by many things, including:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Food

Infections

Bacterial or fungal infections can also cause the sebaceous glands to become blocked. Infections are more likely to occur if the skin is already irritated or damaged.

Hormonal imbalances

Hormonal imbalances can also cause sebaceous cysts. The most common hormonal imbalance that leads to sebaceous cysts is an increase in testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible for the development of male sex characteristics. An increase in testosterone levels can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil than normal. This can then lead to the formation of sebaceous cysts.

Immune system disorders

Sebaceous cysts can also be caused by immune system disorders. The immune system is responsible for fighting off infections and diseases. If the immune system is not working properly, it can allow bacteria to grow and multiply. This can then lead to the formation of sebaceous cysts.

Sebaceous cysts are non-cancerous growths that can occur on the skin. They are usually harmless and do not cause any pain or discomfort. However, they can become infected and cause irritation or inflammation. If you think your dog has a sebaceous cyst, it is important to take them to the vet so they can be examined. Treatment is usually not necessary unless the cyst becomes infected or inflamed. In most cases, sebaceous cysts will go away on their own.

If you want to play it safe, it’s best to take your dog to the vet to get checked out. The vet will be able to tell if the growth is a sebaceous cyst and can provide you with information on how to treat it. Treatment options may include antibiotics, surgical removal, or cryotherapy (freezing).

Signs and Symptoms Of Sebaceous Cyst In Dogs

There are certain things to watch out for when it comes to sebaceous cysts in dogs. Here are some signs and symptoms:

  • A growth or lump on the skin
  • The growth is typically round or oval-shaped
  • The lump is usually small but can grow larger over time
  • The lump is filled with pus or other fluid
  • The lump may be painful to the touch

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it’s important to take your dog to the vet right away. Early diagnosis and treatment are always best. This way, you can avoid any complications and your dog can start feeling better as soon as possible.

Diagnosis Of Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

To diagnose a sebaceous cyst, your vet will start by doing a physical examination. They will also ask about your dog’s medical history and symptoms. Your vet may also recommend some additional tests, such as:

A skin biopsy

A skin biopsy will be able to confirm whether or not your dog has a sebaceous cyst. In this test, a small sample of tissue will be taken from the lump and then sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Fine needle aspiration

Fine need aspiration is a quick and easy way to determine whether or not your dog has a sebaceous cyst. In this test, a small needle is inserted into the lump and then used to draw out some fluid. The fluid will then be examined under a microscope.

X-rays

X-rays are sometimes used to rule out other possibilities, such as a tumor. X-rays are performed to create a picture of the inside of your dog’s body. This way, the veterinarian can determine if the lump is solid or filled with fluid.

CT scan or MRI

A CT scan or MRI may be recommended if the veterinarian suspects that the lump is a tumor. These tests create detailed images of the inside of your dog’s body and can help to confirm or rule out a diagnosis.

If you think your dog may have a sebaceous cyst, it is important to make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to perform the necessary tests and develop a treatment plan. Be sure to follow up with regular check-ups to ensure that the cyst does not return.

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, your vet will develop a treatment plan. You need to be sure to follow the treatment plan and have regular check-ups to ensure that the cyst does not return.

Treatment Of Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

There are several options available for the treatment of sebaceous cysts in dogs. These treatment options include the following:

Laser treatment

The most common treatment for sebaceous cysts is laser treatment. This treatment involves the use of a high-energy beam of light to remove the cyst. This treatment is not painful and is usually very effective.

Surgery

Surgery is another option for the treatment of sebaceous cysts in dogs. This option is usually only used if the cyst is large or if it has come back after being treated with laser treatment.

Steroid injections

Steroid injections are another option for the treatment of sebaceous cysts in dogs. This option is usually only used if the cyst is large or if it has come back after being treated with laser treatment or surgery.

Cryotherapy

Cryotherapy is another option for the treatment of sebaceous cysts. This treatment involves the use of extremely cold temperatures to destroy the cyst.

Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy is another option for the treatment of sebaceous cysts. This treatment uses high-energy waves to kill cancer cells.

Your vet will discuss these options with you and help you choose the best option for your dog. You need to be sure to follow the treatment plan and have regular check-ups to ensure that the cyst does not return.

Medications To Treat Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

There are certain medications that can be used to treat sebaceous cysts in dogs. These medications include:

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to kill the bacteria that cause sebaceous cysts.

Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are used to reduce inflammation.

Retinoids

Retinoids are used to help reduce the size of sebaceous glands.

It’s important to remember that you should never give medications to your dog unless they are prescribed by a veterinarian. It’s also important to remember that you should NOT try to pop or squeeze a sebaceous cyst. This can cause the cyst to become infected.

If you think your dog has a sebaceous cyst, make an appointment with your veterinarian. They will be able to diagnose and treat the condition.

General Cost To Treat Sebaceous Cysts

So, how much does it cost to treat sebaceous cysts in dogs? The answer to this question will vary depending on the severity of the condition and the course of treatment that is recommended by your veterinarian. Generally speaking, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$1,000 for sebaceous cyst treatment. If your dog’s sebaceous cyst becomes infected, the cost of treatment will likely be on the higher end of this range.

How to Prevent Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

To prevent sebaceous cysts in dogs, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:

Always keep your dog clean

You should always make sure that your dog is clean, especially if they have a lot of hair. Regular baths will help to keep the sebaceous glands from becoming clogged.

Don’t over-groom your dog

While it is important to keep your dog clean, you should be careful not to over-groom them. This can lead to irritation of the skin and make sebaceous cysts more likely to form.

Be careful with shampoo

When you do bathe your dog, be careful with the shampoo that you use. Some shampoos can be very harsh and irritate the skin. Choose a mild shampoo or one that is specifically designed for dogs with sensitive skin.

Talk to your veterinarian

If you are concerned about sebaceous cysts in your dog, then you should talk to your veterinarian. They can provide you with more information and help you determine the best course of treatment for your dog.

Sebaceous cysts in dogs are not uncommon and, while they are usually benign, they can be uncomfortable for your dog. By following these tips, you can help to prevent sebaceous cysts from forming or becoming a problem for your dog.

How Can Dogs Recover From Sebaceous Cysts?

Dogs can recover from sebaceous cysts with the help of treatments from their veterinarian. In some cases, surgery may be required to remove the cyst. However, most sebaceous cysts can be treated with medication and home care.

If you think your dog may have a sebaceous cyst, contact your veterinarian right away. They will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you with treatment options. With the proper treatment, your dog can soon recover from this condition.

sebaceous cyst dog - dog at the vet clinic

When To Visit A Veterinarian About Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

You should visit a veterinarian if you think your dog has a sebaceous cyst. The vet will be able to diagnose the problem and provide you with treatment options. If the cyst is large or causing your dog pain, surgery may be required to remove it.

Most sebaceous cysts can be treated with medication and home care. However, if the cyst is large or causing your dog pain, surgery may be the only way to remove it. Oftentimes, immediate treatment will prevent the cyst from returning. Therefore, you should waste no time seeking professional help for your dog.

FAQs About Sebaceous Cysts In Dogs

Can I pop a sebaceous cyst on my dog?

No, you should never attempt to pop or drain a sebaceous cyst on your dog. This can cause the cyst to become infected.

Are sebaceous cysts on dogs cancerous?

No, sebaceous cysts on dogs are not cancerous. However, they can become cancerous if left untreated.

What does a sebaceous cyst look like on a dog?

A sebaceous cyst on a dog looks like a small, round lump under the skin. The lump is usually filled with pus and is often red or inflamed.

Are sebaceous cysts on dogs bad?

No, sebaceous cysts on dogs are not bad. However, they can become infected if left untreated. If this happens, your dog might need antibiotics or surgery.

Why does my dog get sebaceous cysts?

Your dog gets sebaceous cysts because of a blockage in the sebaceous glands. These glands are responsible for producing sebum, which is an oily substance that keeps the skin and coats healthy.

Can I drain a sebaceous cyst myself?

No, you should NOT drain a sebaceous cyst yourself. This can cause the infection to spread. If you think your dog has a sebaceous cyst, take him to the vet.

How do you dissolve your dog’s sebaceous cyst naturally?

There are a few things you can do to dissolve your dog’s sebaceous cyst naturally. These things include the following:

  • Apply a warm compress to the area for 20 minutes, three times per day.
  • Give your dog omega-three fatty acids. These can be found in fish oil supplements.
  • Add apple cider vinegar to your dog’s food. Start with one teaspoon per day and work up to one tablespoon per day.
  • Give your dog probiotics.
  • Feed your dog a healthy diet. This should include plenty of fresh, whole foods.
  • Exercise your dog regularly.

Do sebaceous cysts go away?

Yes, in most cases, sebaceous cysts will go away on their own. However, if the cyst becomes infected, it may require antibiotics to clear up. If the cyst is large and bothersome, your vet may recommend surgery to remove it. Either way, sebaceous cysts are not a serious health concern for most dogs and can be resolved with time and proper care.

How do you clean a popped sebaceous cyst on a dog?

If the sebaceous cyst pops on its own, you can clean it with a warm, wet cloth. If it seems infected, you should take your dog to the vet. They will be able to properly clean and treat the infection.

Final Thoughts

Sebaceous cysts in dogs are relatively common and not usually a cause for concern. If you think your dog has a sebaceous cyst, you can check with your vet to be sure. They will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.  

If your dog has a sebaceous cyst, it is always best to err on the side of caution and take them to the vet for proper care.  Never attempt to pop or drain a sebaceous cyst on your own. This can lead to infection and further complications. If you have any concerns, please contact your veterinarian right away. They will be able to help you determine the best course of action for your dog.

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by Nicole Barnett

Nicole has been a freelance writer for over 10 years. She has three dogs, two of which she rescued from the streets. When not furiously typing away at her computer, you’d either find her chasing after her adorable dogs and kids, or volunteering at a local shelter.

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