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Friday, September 24, 2010

Sebaceous Cysts


Okay; this is a heads up and warning of the following GROSS talk blog.  If you have not had breakfast yet or you have a queasy stomach then best to not read this one or leave it for later in the day.  Sebaceous cysts; a volcano like bump that is commonly found on dogs.  It seems that no breed or mix is predisposed to these little annoying lumps so any dog is fair game.  I don't remember the first time I saw one but it was on Tilley; she has now had them for years and it is has become a common attack strategy when we see one.  First we take note; lump, next we wait and we wait and we wait until it decides to erupt and erupt it does, usually.  They open up much like a volcano and release the contents which can vary from gray goo, maybe a little blood to tiny little dark gray pearls.  The tiny beads beads are common and have been inside almost all of Tilley's and by tiny I mean like large sized grains of sand but there are a lot of them with accompanying goo.

So what are Sebaceous cysts and what should you do about them?  All dogs have oil glands in their skin; these are what produce the oil for their hair, which contain a substance called Sebum.  When a hair follicle becomes blocked for some reason then the natural flow of oils cannot be expelled.  This causes a backup so to speak and a lump can form; it can grow to a good size before it opens up, if it opens up.  Tilley has had them when they simply dried up and went away but typically they have come to a head and opened.  This is when great care must be taken to keep them clean; infection can set in fast and make matters far worse.

I've taken care of dozens of them; yes they are extremely gross but fairly easy to fix so to speak.  If they open up; you use hot compresses, a cloth with warm water.    As warm as your pup can stand and put it on top; let it sit and then gently squeeze.  It may not seem like there is an end to the goo but there is; believe me.  When you start to see blood; which may be a few days you are nearing the end.  I like to keep neosporine all around the opening but not covering the opening.  Best to keep a dry bandage on it if you can; this stops licking.  Perhaps sit out in the sun with your pooch to let it dry without a bandage for a bit each day.

The hair may or may not grow back on the spot where the cysts formed; I've had it grow and not grow back.  Problems can arise with a cyst if they do not come to a head and continue to grow .  If they become red and warm to the touch; best to head to the vet.  They are often removed surgically; but only if they become a problem.

So there you have it; gross but very normal.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

THANK YOU for this posting! I have a standard poodle. She is my first standard poodle and the most fantastic dog I have ever had the pleasure to live with and I have had some pretty fantastic dogs. She began having some problems with sebaceous cysts when she was three (she is six now) and it seems like we are always working on one. I do all my own grooming so I know every spot on her. Her hair does grow back in the spots, but she is a charcoal gray color and the spots grow back with dark black hair (she was a coal black puppy) She never gets one in the same place, it's always in a new location and she always has one or two brewing it seems. Twice we have had one get infected and had to go to the vet and he has put her on an antibiotic. I have pretty much treated them just as you described and we have not had to have any removed surgically ...yet. She had a bad bout with one on her tail which caused extreme swelling and scared me to death (not much room for swelling in a poodle tail) but it ruptured thank God and I worked hard to keep it draining. They worry me greatly. I have had dogs with lipomas before, but never the cysty problem that my poor girl has. I am transitioning from Innova and Solid Gold dog food to feeding raw. Do you feel that there is a nutritional component to the problem? There are not many standard poodles around here and my vet doesn't have much advice. Your post has made me feel better, because I have been following your blog and you definitely know what you are doing with dogs so if your Tilley can have cysts then maybe I am not such a failure as a poodle care taker after all!