A mild inflammation may be a walk in the park but certainly not a lumpy growth on your dog? Sebaceous cyst could really be offsetting to look at and could make a pet owner feel uneasy, any form of growth on your dog should be a concern.

Let’s find out if this type of growth could be life threatening or just benign. Give your dog a better chance at fighting off sebaceous cysts by learning all about its causes, symptoms, types and treatment.

Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet


  1. What is a Sebaceous Cyst
  2. Sebaceous Types of Cysts on Dogs
  3. What Cause Sebaceous Cysts on Dogs
  4. Dog Sebaceous Cyst Treatment
  5. FAQs
  6. Conclusion

What is a Sebaceous Cyst

Sebaceous cyst on dogs are easy to understand, they are formed when excessive sebum is produced or trapped in a nearby hair follicle leading to an obvious lumpy-like growth.

These cysts can appear almost anywhere on the body but are mostly seen on the head, fore limbs, neck and trunk. They take the form of soft to hard squishy grey, white or bluish lumps.

The Sebum acts as a natural lubricant, nourishing the hairs or furs and moisturising the skin, preventing it from getting dry, and protecting it from infection and bruises.

These singular-appearing lumps could sometimes burst and release a thick yellowish or grey substance. The sebaceous cysts are usually not cancerous or life threatening but could be when not taken care of.

“About 50% of Sebaceous growths are technically not tumors at all and are grouped as excessive growth of the sebaceous gland tissue”, - Wendy Brooks.

Sebaceous Types of Cysts on Dogs

When Sebaceous cyst on dogs bursts, they become prone to secondary infection which when left untreated could get infected and result in more complications. Here are a few types of sebaceous cysts that could occur in dogs:

Sebaceous Adenoma

This type of Sebaceous cyst usually looks crusty and is found on the head and eyelids of older dogs. This crust could be infected if it oozes pus with a yellowish coloration.

The English Cocker Spaniel, Husky and Samoyed are mostly the predisposing breeds to this type of Sebaceous cyst. My neighbor had two huskies at one time and complained that of all the breeds of dogs she had owned, only the huskies had experienced the sebaceous cyst formation, this might not be a coincidence.

Sebaceous Gland Hamartoma

The Sebaceous gland hamartoma is a tumor of the sebaceous gland which is usually noticeable at birth. They could appear as circular or elongated, spanning about 2 inches in length.

This congenital condition usually results in a cyst formation on the scalp of the dog and is usually accompanied by other symptoms like itching and biting at the cyst location.

Sebaceous Gland Overgrowth

An overgrowth of the Sebaceous gland could result in cyst formation on the head or abdomen. Older dogs are commonly prone to this condition due to a concurrent gland tumor or an underlying infection.

The Welsh Terriers, Manchester and Wheaton are highly susceptible. Old age and hormonal imbalance and even UV rays can result in this type of condition.
With the help of the Petcube GPS Tracker, you can keep a close eye on your dog, making sure it doesn’t come in contact with any trigger such as UV rays in sun lamps or even too much direct sunlight.

Sebaceous Gland Adenocarcinoma

This is a more advanced type of sebaceous cyst, it includes a combination of a tumor and overgrowth of the Sebaceous gland which has affected surrounding lymph nodes and even the lungs.

Middle aged to older dogs are more predisposed to this condition. This type of Sebaceous cyst is Malignant and should be taken seriously. Breeds like Terriers and the Cocker Spaniels are highly predisposed.

What Cause Sebaceous Cysts on Dogs

The cause of Sebaceous cysts in dogs ranges from minor injury to an allergic reaction or a hormonal imbalance which determines how severe the cyst formation would be. Some of the known causes of Sebaceous Cyst formation in dogs includes one or more of the following:

Allergic skin reaction

Your dog may experience some allergic skin reactions which could lead to cyst formation. These reactions may be due to drug toxicity or chemical toxicity.

Sebaceous Adenitis

In a case of Sebaceous Adenitis, the body exerts an inflammatory process against the Sebaceous gland causing loss of hair, crust and scales formation which in turn leads to secondary bacterial infection.

Sebaceous cyst in this case has been observed to result due to autoimmune response of the body against the Sebaceous gland coupled with a defective sebum production.

Inflamed Hair follicle/Follicular blockage

Inflamed hair follicles also known as folliculitis is as common as Sebaceous cyst formation with similar symptoms.

An inflamed hair follicle may have resulted from an infection with bacteria. Most of the time, when a hair follicle gets infected, inflammation takes place to resolve the underlying problem. In this process, sebum is produced in excess resulting in cyst formation on top of the skin.

Genetic Disorder

Though uncommon, Sebaceous cyst formation has been linked to genetics after identifying sebaceous cyst lesions on newly born puppies. There could be a chance genetics had a role to play.

Insect bite/ Insecticide Toxicity

An insect bite, depending on how venomous it is, could result in a sebaceous cysts formation on the skin. Likewise, insecticide can cause serious allergic reactions and could lead to cyst formation.

Sebaceous Cysts Symptoms in Dogs

The symptoms of Sebaceous cysts in Dogs can present in different forms depending on the cause and type. Some of the common symptoms of Sebaceous Cysts in Dogs are:

  • Itching at the area of Cyst formation.
  • Observable raised inflamed area of the skin.
  • Present of round or elongated growth.
  • Growth may be white, grey, blue or pinkish.
  • Cyst may burst and ooze out yellowish substances.
  • Cyst May occur in one or more places, usually on the head, face, limbs, back and trunk.
  • Cyst may get infected and become crusty.
  • They could grow up to about 2 inches.

An friend of mine who had a Cocker Spaniel had observed her dog itching at her flank aggressively, we took a closer look at the flank and found out that she had gotten an infection which might have resulted from a Sebaceous cyst left untreated.

Sometimes keeping up with changes in your dog’s behavior could be difficult but with the Petcube camera, you can watch out for any symptoms or change in your dog’s behavior without being there.

Dog Sebaceous Cyst Treatment

Treatment of Sebaceous cyst in dogs starts with identifying its actual cause, this will guide in classifying the cyst as benign or malignant.

As a dog owner, your ability to provide the Veterinarian with enough information concerning the cyst formation will go a long way to helping your dog get relieved from a possible Sebaceous cyst.

The dog Sebaceous cyst treatment is not complete without a diagnosis, the Veterinarian must first conduct a series of tests such as Biopsy or a Fine needle aspiration test to ascertain the type of mass.

Secondly, a physical examination is carried out to observe the structure, shape, number and type of mass. Afterwards, the mass is checked for rupture or infection.

If the mass has been ruptured and is infected, the Vet would treat for infection using topical antibiotics or an injectable as the case may be. Though mild unruptured cyst could be surgically removed, if it is cancerous then a laser surgery may be advised.

Such surgeries could require a lot of money, but not to worry! You can take advantage of our Petcube’s Emergency Fund offer, get up to $3000 coverage in emergency Vet fees to enable your pet get the surgery it needs.

You don’t have to lose your pet because of a cyst, for reading this article you can also claim a 27% discount by subscribing using the exclusive link. The prognosis of surgical removal of Sebaceous cyst is always good but reoccurrence is most likely to happen.


How to treat a ruptured sebaceous cyst on a dog?

A ruptured sebaceous cyst is treated mostly with topical antibiotics or an injectable after draining and cleaning the site, the choice of drug and duration of treatment would be determined by the Veterinarian.

Do I need to be worried about Sebaceous Cyst on my dog?

It depends on its severity and cause, talking your pet to the Vet for a proper diagnosis will be the best option.

Does Sebaceous Cyst disappear on its own?

Unless the cyst is severe, too large or cancerous, most sebaceous cyst would go on their own.

What does a sebaceous cyst look like on a dog?

Sebaceous cyst on a dog usually takes a round or elongated form, its color ranging from white, grey to blue. They are raised regions on the skin looking like a lump.

What is a sebaceous cyst on a dog?

Sebaceous cyst on a dog is a lumpy shaped skin mass which could be genetic, autoimmune or just a mild skin reaction.

What causes sebaceous cysts in dogs?

Sebaceous cysts in dogs are caused by a varied amount of reasons. Genetics, adverse skin reaction, excessive sebum production or even cancer.


Sebaceous cyst on dogs don’t have to be a death sentence, understanding the fact that its causes may be varied. Some of its causes are mild while others make it severe. Taking your dog to the Vet for proper examination and diagnosis gives your pet a better stand when it comes to sebaceous cyst. It may be mild and go away, but when malignant, more intensive measures should be taken.

Was this article helpful?

Help us make our articles even better

Yes No

Thank you for your feedback