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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Sebaceous Cysts

WARNING:  GROSS BLOG.  THIS BLOG CONTAINS GROSS MATERIAL, CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK.  YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

This photo was taken before the second growth started on the orignal one.


If you have not had breakfast yet or you have a queasy stomach then best NOT TO 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 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 the 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.

Tilley has had a huge lump growing on her for several years.  We have had it checked and the result was fatty cyst, nothing to worry about.  So over the years we have just watched it grow.  All along I had thought that it was a sebaceous cyst that just never opened.  Recently it started another lump on top of the  original lump, a little alarming.  Again I had a vet look at it and he was very unalarmed by it.  So I left the vets contemplating what to call this new thing.  It was big enough to now have a name.  Blunk; it has been called and remained the name associated with this monstrous bulb.  The cyst was the size of two golf balls, substantial to say the least. 

Just this past weekend I said to my husband "if it would just open up I could tend to it."  It had gotten so big that it was shiny; I assumed it could not get any bigger without splitting open.  It felt very much like a balloon filled with water.  Only a few days later she blew a leak.  A tiny spot of fluid ran down the side of the cyst; I quickly got a clean cloth and squeezed ever so gently.  A drip of what looked like coffee came out; strange.  But that was as far as we got, nothing more came out.  That was until yesterday morning when it started to leak again.

This shot was taken at the end of the squeezing; now changed color with some blood.


I quickly got Tilley outside in the sun and grabbed my glasses.  It was dripping out at a pretty good rate but what was coming out was again coffee like, very watery and dripping to the ground.  I grabbed a pile of napkins and applied a small amount of pressure.  The leak started in the newest section of the growth; this is what I thought I might be able to drain, if not the original growth.  As I squeezed I felt it give and gush; I now had a handful of coffee with what looked like a few grinds in it.  This was very different from other cysts.

I continued to press; coaxing the contents out of their encasement when there was another gush but this time it shot past the cloth and squirt across my shirt.  I had to laugh; this is what I'd wanted for her and this monster that was freeloading (be careful what you wish for).   It was at this point that I realized that the whole thing was unloading.  Tilley is such a trooper; a tougher dog I've not met.  A couple of times she glanced back at me as if to check on the status. 

The hole is quite small compared to the sized of the original blunk.


The coffee and grinds substance started to change resembling a consistency that I am accustom to.  It was getting gooey; filled with black and white tiny grains.  We had several big gushes; constant drizzling and lots of cloth changes until we reached a point where I thought we were just about done.  I tried a bit more pressure and had a couple more big gushes when I looked at the spot where this monster had lived for several years.  It was gone; almost.

Now I have to care for the open wound; luckily it is a very small hole.  We've had them before when the whole thing opened up.  So I will keep it clean; apply hot compresses and get the remaining goo out.  It will hopefully heal and regrow hair as the others have done.  This has been a monumental moment; I thought she was doomed to live with this montrous growth.

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.

51 comments:

Barbara said...

I had a vet who insisted on removing them surgically. He made lots of money from me! Now I know better.

Anonymous said...

I had an English Springer Spaniel that used to get them. I would wait until she had a few of them then the vet would remove them. With the shaving and cutting she would look like she had been in a knife fight!! Poor thing. As she got older I just let them go but they are a tad gross when they blow!!

flamingo said...

oh, that story isn't so gross...very interesting...

Denise said...

Thanks, Sheri. Much more helpful in identifying and treating this problem should it occur than gross. I've never seen one of these on any of my dogs but now I'm prepared, thanks to you.

Mystic Poodlez said...

Hi Sherri, It's funny I was just doing a search on sebaceous cysts and found this post on your blog! :-) My Miss Kiera and Loki are very cysty and I'm sad to say that miss K has one that looks about ready to pop. I don't like the look of it, it might be infected. As I was examining her I found another one too! Gawd I hate these things but I'm like you--leave well enough alone, until they pop or unless they look weird. I just took care of one of Loki's and yes, your description of a volcano is very accurate! Good thing my husband didn't clean it--he's very squeamish! Hugs to the spoos and Tilley in heaven.

Sherri said...

Yep, they are not for the faint of heart. Gross but usually pretty harmless. :)

Anonymous said...

Sherri how big do these get and how quick? Our girl has had this for two years and it has grown slowly until the last three days it has really grown, how long can it take to break open?

Anonymous said...

I've dealt with several over the years...on several dogs.
I happened to get some injectable lidocaine (numbing agent) which I inject with an insulin needle and syringe (tiny). Then I open it up with a sterile scalpel (find them at livestock supply stores. It doesn't explode and is easy to drain plus the dog doesn't feel a thing except the first injection of lidocaine. Let it heal from the inside out, but of course watch for infection.

Anonymous said...

It is because of wrong nutrition that they get this kind of stuff! Stop giving dry food to your dogs! Go raw! Then these kind of issues will disappear as well.

Sherri said...

Anonymous; Some breeds and certain lines are prone to these. Tilley had a raw and cooked diet of real food most of her life.

Chelsey said...

Our basset hound has one by his spine I've been watching it contemplating whether or not to go rushing to the vet they like to screw us over out here. His cyst is under the fur. Should I shave the fur to help the process along? Or if I do take him to the vet can they just lance it? Thank you

Sherri said...

Because Tilley got them all the time I knew that they were all cysts. So if you know that it is indeed a cyst I would just leave it to do its thing. Once it opens you can then help it along.

Sherri

Anonymous said...

Sherri I am so Thankful I came across your Blog! My Bella (she's a Basset Hound Mix) had one huge cyst one her back for the past year. The Vet said it would go away on its on, but it seemed to just get bigger and bigger. Then tonight I noticed a stream of coffee looking liquid down her back and I went to wipe it off and well.... Yes it exploded on me. So my son put her in the tub for me and I used the massager setting on my shower with warm water and kept squeezing the yuckie stuff all out. We got all of it out got her dried off, then I put some lidocane ointment on it, gave her a benadryl and a treat and she is now very happy 7 yr old baby girl and resting comfortably.

Thanks From The Cravin Clan in Georgia!

Sherri said...

Hi Cravin Clan, I'm glad that you found the blog as well. Sharing canine experiences can really help others. I'm glad your Bella has gotten rid of her hitch hiker now. Give her a hug for me.

Sherri

Anonymous said...

My almost 7 yr old dog has had a brown lump on her back leg since she was a pup. A vet told me it was a large mole and nothing to worry about. It has not bothered her all these years. Took her to a new vet few weeks ago and she noticed the "mole" and said it was not a mole, but a cyst. She grabbed a needle,lanced it, and squeezed out semi-solid pus- looking goo. She said it would fill back up though. A week later I saw some blood dripping down my dog's leg and the thing grew back larger and inflamed that one day. My dog was pacing because she was in too much pain to sit or lay down. Took her back to vet and she said it looked abnormal and put my dog on an antibiotic even though it is not infected (just inflamed). I feel the vet caused my dog unnecessary pain and potential infection, and caused me to pay her a lot of money for something that had never been a problem before. What is your take on this?

Anonymous said...

Your description is very good! My dog Sammi has had a few of those and like you said it started out looking fairly similiar to coffee and when it burst no doubt it just poured out with timy black and white flecks like sand and sort of had a bit of a crystal sheen to them. They don't totally disappear for Sammi but I just keep an eye on them and they still leak but from different little spots. Thankfully for me when it burst I had just gotten home from the hospital after having a heart attack since my husband would probably have vomitted if he had been the only one at home when it happened!!

E said...

This is great, thanks for a helpful, succinct and articulate description! Our boxer girl had one of these on her back and it burst, and we did what you described. It's all healed up now, I was just googling whether we could expect her fur to grow back there. Doesn't matter either way, she's still beautiful :) Thanks again for such a great, descriptive and helpful explanation of the process!

Pam said...

My lab had one on her back and it just popped and had the same stuff you said and sorta like white stuff too.
I took her to the vet and she wanted to charge me $530.00 to cut the area out saying it would refill again if she didn't remove the hole area. What do you think? Will it heal by itself?

Pam said...

My lab had one on her back and it opened and looked like what you have said. I took her to the vet and they want to cut it out and said if they didn't it would continue to fill back up. Wanted to charge me $530.00 what do you think? Will it heal on its own?

Sherri said...

Pam, I dealt with these for a very long time with my girl. I never had any removed and even the very worst cleared up with nursing and cleaning it on my own. I'd give it a try, keep it clean and let the air get at it when you can supervise.

Good luck, let me know and if you have any other questions please feel free to ask.

Sherri

Pam said...

Sherri thank you.
Did you apply any medicine on it ?
I applied triple antibiotics ointment on and in the hole area

Pam said...

Sherri thank you.
Did you apply any medicine on it ?
I applied triple antibiotics ointment on and in the hole area

Pam said...

Sherri thank you.
Did you apply any medicine on it ?
I applied triple antibiotics ointment on and in the hole area

Sherri said...

I used Bactine or just hot water and soap to it. Then around the hole I put neosporine but not in the hole because you want it to dry. Do not use peroxide. Squeeze it until nothing comes out any further with a hot cloth.

Anonymous said...

Just to add to this if the cyst colapses on the inside or the skin turns black get to the vet. Our dog is 11 and got his fist cyst in a week it went from pea sizes to grapefruit and leaked but would not empy, compresses, repeated draining didnt work. Woke up to a dog that couldnt walk and wasin pain. Vet opened it and sent us home with a large leaking hole in the doga back. Now we wait. Truly is stomach turning to look at.

Sherri said...

Wow, I hope that it heals. I never had anything that large on my guys. Golf ball was the biggest. Like anything, there are times when you need to head to the vet.

Sherri

Anonymous said...

I have a cocker spaniel with thirty tags on one spot..any idea what it could be? Grew in just a couple of days and right on his forehead

katie steele said...

i have a springer and he had a lump on neck which if i aplied preasure white cottage cheese like stuff came out, took her to the vet and he said that he would have to remove it also there where 2 on his back that had not poped but had them removed as well. 1 of the lumps on his back while trying to heal got infected so bad that he had to go under the knife again this time vet had to remove infected skin, after 3 course of antibotics he has sadly had to go back under the knife again and had to have more of his skin removed on his back, now i am trying to deal with a 20 cm scar and 16 stitches another antibotic and a spray , daughter in trears over her dog and i am just hope and pray it will heal this time

Kate said...

I have a 15 year old standard poodle with a ruptured cyst near the base of her tail. It oozes and she will lick it if it isn't covered. I now keep it covered and apply Quadratop every other day. Kinda manages it....She is in pretty good health otherwise. A year ago the vet said there wasn't enough skin to close it surgically. Now she says it's worth a try. Makes me oh so nervous. Any advice?

Sherri said...

Kate; 15 years old is great. I'd opt to just care for it myself at this point. Unless they could try to fix it without putting her out. Risky to be put out at that age, or any age but 15? I wouldn't unless I had to.

Christina said...

I have a shih tzu she's almost 15 she has one of these I believe to be a cyst. It's on her tummy it looks like she's a male dog. It's a reddish & purple color and it doesn't seem to be attached to her body it just hangs there like a she's a male dog. Any help with this would be really good, she has me worried sick I love her so much. Please answer soon.

Christina

Sherri said...

Christina, if she has not had these before I would get her to the vet. It could just be a nothing cyst but it could be something else. Just have it checked out.

Let me know how it goes.

Sherri

Caring for a very old shih tzu said...

Christina, that could be a hernia. I would take her to a vet. Sometimes hernias are not a problem and can be left alone, but it's best to know for sure.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sherri, my poodle Fred had a HUGE cyst let go recently and I have been treated it at home thanks to your advise. Vet did give antibiotics to prevent infection. My question is, how long will this thing ooze? It just seems to keep refilling alittle every day, not so bad but he sleeps next to furniture and things are getting messy. Also, would there be any reason a kennel would not take him in this condition.? Thanks

Anonymous said...

Also, why not use hydrogen peroxide?

Sherri said...

Peroxide actually deteriorates new tissue making healing longer.

Meredith Milo's mom said...

Hi Sherri
I am having trouble with my houndie milo he has a lump on his neck that keeps draining and filling up again it is quite large and vet want"s to put him under to put in a drain tube then a second surgery to remove he is almost 11 and don't want to do that to him...I could use some help on what to do...he is on antibiotics
my request and some kind of steriod cream...thanks for your blog

Sherri said...

Meredith, how long has it been draining for? How large is it and is this the first?

Meredith said...

it's been draining off and on about 1 month and it drains oblong shape about the size of a softball this is his first to open, he scratched it open he has about 5 other ones on his butt and belly

Sherri said...

WHat is the color of the liquid coming out?

Meredith Milo's mom said...

a lot of blood now but there was puss in the begining

Clint O'Daniel said...

My dog seems to have a cyst on his back neck when I pull the hair a part it looks like he has black heads all over. Os that just the oil build up that caused the cyst?

Sherri said...

Clint, you will want to get the bump checked if this is a first. My girl suffered her whole life with them so I knew what they were. They did not have black heads on them so have it checked just in case.

Clint O'Daniel said...

This is the 2nd time he has gotten one...The last one was no near the size is one has gotten to. I have been putting a warm heating pad on it while we watch tv and I think that is what caused it to grow. ..it's bout 1.5 inches high and 2 inches wide

Sherri said...

How does it feel? It is squishy like there is fluid inside. Tilley's big one was like that, much like a water balloon.

Anonymous said...

Hi I need help please

I have a maltese shih tzu, she started getting lumps at about 2 year old. The vet told me she needed surgery, so I got them removed, there was a total of 4. That was last year and now she has at least 4 more and one near her back end is getting bigger. I changed her food to a very expensive brand called Acana, which is apparently the next best thing to a raw diet but in a hard food form. The cysts are hard and black looking...is there anything I can do to stop these from coming ....I bath my dog at least one a month and try to keep up with brushing her rough coat......I don't want to put her under every year #1 it's dangerous for her and could lead to death #2 it's expensive.......there must be something o do to stop these things

Karen said...

My 10 yr old standard poodle also has a cyst that popped. I am opting for surgery Tuesday because these things get staph very easily. Pay now or really pay later. I know that standards are prone to these cysts but she's the first dog I ever had that got one. I wonder if the flea and tick medicine/oil causes this. I read that this is a dangerous poison. I never used flea meds on any of my other poodles and they never got fleas or these cysts.

Sherri said...

My girl had them all her life, none ever got infected and she didn't have to go through a surgery for nothing. You have to do what you feel is best.

Karen said...

I am nervous about this, but this surgery is twofold. I adopted Chloe when she was 7. Her previous owner didn't clip her nails and now they're overgrown. In fact they're bending her toes crooked and it looks very painful for her. So we're going to have those fixed too. Because of her age, I doubt if I'll ever put her through another surgery.

Anonymous said...

What kind of bandage do you use? My pup is prone to these and has one now on his behind/flank so I can't really use a wrap. Thanks for your post on this, it was very helpful.

Sherri said...

I try to use just a dry gauze sterile wrap so that it can breath. I also leave it open when I'm supervising.