What are Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs?

As responsible pet owners, we aim to keep our dogs healthy and happy. We want them to be comfortable and at ease with their environment. Our dogs rely on us to stay healthy. But sometimes there are just things that we can’t prevent. In as much as we want to have them stay healthy, sometimes they develop some sickness that affects their health.

One of the common sicknesses that dogs get is having lumps or bumps. These are called cysts. Cysts hollow spaces within that are found within the tissues containing solidified or liquid materials. There are many types of the cyst, including dermoid cysts, true cysts, follicular cysts false cysts, and sebaceous cysts. 

What are Sebaceous Cysts? 

Sebaceous Cysts in dogs develop when the skin pore or hair follicle gets blocked by dirt, scar tissue, or any debris. They are also known as sebaceous gland tumors. Sebaceous Cysts happen also happens when sebum, the oil that keeps the hair healthy, nice, and shiny, clogs the hair follicles and skin pores. Sebaceous Cysts are large pimples, and fortunately, they harmless. Though this type of cyst is harmless, it can cause infection if left untreated. This cyst can be treated at home using prescribed medication from your vet. For safe results, it is best to see your doctor.

Types of Sebaceous Cysts

There are several types of Sebaceous Cysts

  • Sebaceous gland Hyperplasia – occurs when there is an overgrowth of the sebaceous gland. These usually happen in older dogs. They look like shiny lumps mostly found on your dog’s abdomen and head.
  • Sebaceous gland Adenima/ epithelioma – these are usually found on the head or on the eyelids and are covered by crust.
  • Sebaceous gland hamartoma – this usually happens after a dog’s birth, and they are 2 inches long.
  • Sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma – these are harmful and malignant cysts that can be found on elderly dogs, and they can metastasize to the lymph nodes and lungs.

Causes of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs

There are several factors that may cause Sebaceous Cysts in dogs. Sebaceous cysts or epidermoid cysts develop when the skin gland or hair follicle is blocked. It can be caused by infections, genetic predisposition, injury or trauma, lockage of hair follicle, insect bite, hormonal imbalance, or swollen of a hair follicle.

Symptoms of Sebaceous Cyst in Dogs

The symptoms are easy to identify. If your furry friend has a sebaceous cyst, you will notice a lump on a hump on the infected area. It usually looks like white or slightly blue in color, and they are usually found on the neck, head, upper legs, and torso of your pet. 

Treatment of Sebaceous Cyst

No need to worry as Sebaceous Cyst are benign. Though they may be harmful to our pets, they can bring about discomfort. It is also difficult to distinguish it from other forms of cysts, which can be harmful to your pet, so it best to consult your vet regarding this matter. 

If you notice that your dog has a lump or hump and gets irritable about it, try to see your vet so they could check on it. If it happens to be a Sebaceous Cyst, the vet will prescribe a medication such as antibiotics and inflammatory drugs. The vet may also perform further diagnostics and surgical removal of the cyst, such as biopsy. Though Sebaceous Cyst can cause no harm to your pet’s health, it is important to treat it to avoid infection, rapture, and infection that may cause bleeding.

The treatment depends on the status of the cyst, the number of cysts, and your pet’s health condition. If the cyst is new, the vet may prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs as treatment. If the cyst is on the advance stage, your vet may need to do biopsy or open and drain the cyst. If the cyst has ruptured, the doctor may need to treat it with for any infection or inflammation.

In cases of cyst removal, you need to keep the cyst area clean to avoid infection. The vet will advise you to avoid bathing your dog until they would heal. The vet will also require your dog to wear an Elizabeth collar to prevent it from licking, scratching, or biting the area as it heals. Be keen if the wound is healing. If you noticed that the wound is not healing or is not improving, consult your doctor right away. 


Keep a healthy routine to prevent Sebaceous Cyst. Prevention is the best treatment. Maintain a regular batch routine. A good quality shampoo formulated for dogs can also keep your dog clean and healthy.

Keeping our best fur buddy healthy is our responsibility. Dog’s have always been known to be very loyal, loving, and a great companion to us. They rely so much on us, and they deserve a lot of tender loving care from their human best friend.

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Lovelia Horn


Every Creature Counts is passionate about animal rescue! We are a family of rescuers who have worked with small animal shelters around the Southern Illinois

Lovelia Horn