What Are Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs?
A cyst in general is an abnormal growth. What makes a sebaceous cyst unique are its contents. All dogs have sebaceous glands in their bodies that open into a hair follicle. Each canine sebaceous gland secretes a substance called sebum that lubricates their hair.
Sebaceous glands are located all over your dog’s body and are also called sweat glands. You might have heard that brushing your dog regularly is good for his skin and coat. This is true because as you brush your dog, the sebaceous gland releases keratin oils to moisturize his skin. Pretty amazing, right?
Sebaceous glands can be found in large numbers near the paws, back of the neck, elbows, hips, head, near the butt, chin, and tail area. As you might imagine, these are also prime locations for sebaceous cysts to form. When those hair follicles get blocked, oil secretions can build up.
When the oil secretions have nowhere to go, the gland gets blocked and a sebaceous cyst can form. These cysts can vary in size from small to large and as they fill and grow, eventually they may burst.
Most sebaceous cysts are benign but they can be a sign of an underlying condition or something more serious, such as cancer. If the sebaceous cyst is in an area that gets a lot of movement, your dog may burst it on his own during regular activity.
What Causes A Sebaceous Cyst On Dogs?
When the dog’s hair follicle is blocked or compromised, sebum builds up. Any number of things can cause a blocked follicle, including:
Once your veterinarian confirms the diagnosis of a sebaceous cyst, the true cause is from a clogged gland. What caused the clogged gland can be any number of things, as indicated above.
How do you get rid of a cyst on a dog?
The most common treatment for cysts is surgical removal. If available, laser treatment is useful for sweat gland cysts. Medical (topical) treatment of multiple small follicular cysts may be helpful. Other treatments may be needed to address the primary (or underlying) causes.
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