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Sebaceous Cyst and Sebaceous Gland Tumor in Dachshunds
2004/6/10 21:10
From New York City
Posts: 1383
Max developed a growth on his ear and Harry suggested it might be a sebaceous cyst, so I did some digging and came up with the following information on this issue in dachshunds. I don't think that what Max has is a sebaceous cyst, as it is not filled with fluid or a waxy substance. It is most likely a sebaceous gland tumor.

Sebaceous Cyst:
Sebaceous, or oil-producing, glands sometimes become plugged with gland material and other debris, which can lead to a bacterial infection; it is similar to the development of acne. Sebaceous cysts are not terribly serious, although if large enough they may cause pain from the pressure. Sometimes they can be treated conservatively by opening the cyst and treating the secondary infection. Warm soaks or hot packs followed by firm pressure may allow the cyst to open. The material inside can then be squeezed out daily. If, at the same time, your dog could be put on an inexpensive oral antibiotic, you may be able to avoid the need for surgery.

Large cysts that refill repeatedly can be successfully removed. This is especially important for outdoor dogs, whose draining cysts may attract flies. If you opt for removal, your veterinarian can lance the cyst using only a local anesthetic or can do a more extensive excision using general anesthesia.

Benign Sebaceous Gland Tumors
Reprinted from: By Wendy C. Brooks, DVM, DipABVP
Educational Director,

We receive a fair amount of email from our Viral Papillomas page from people with older dogs with numerous "warts" wondering if their dog's warts will go away as viral warts usually do. The problem is that in older dogs, what looks like a viral wart is probably a sebaceous gland tumor; while there is a 98% chance it is benign, it will not be going away any time soon.

Viral warts occur primarily on the face of young adult and adolescent dogs. Sebaceous gland tumors occur on any location, often in large numbers, and usually in older dogs (and occasionally in older cats).

There are several types of sebaceous gland tumors.

Sebaceous Hyperplasia
About 50% of sebaceous growths are technically not tumorous and fit into the sebaceous hyperplasia group. It is thought that this group ultimately progresses to the actual benign tumors described below. These lesions are round, cauliflower-like, and sometimes secrete material that forms a crust. Occasionally they even bleed. They are particularly common in Cocker spaniels, Beagles, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, and Dachshunds. This growth is technically not a tumor but is actually an area of excessive sebaceous cell division.

Sebaceous Epithelioma
Another 37% of sebaceous growths fit into this category. These look just the same as sebaceous hyperplasias to the naked eye but tend to occur in larger breeds and usually on the eyelids or head. They often pigment into a black color. They are actual benign tumors and not just areas of excessive sebaceous cell division.

Sebaceous Adenoma
These lesions also look the same as the others to the naked eye. These are also actual benign tumors that probably arose from areas of hyperplasia.

Sebaceous Carcinoma
About 2% of sebaceous tumors are malignant and may be locally invasive but even malignant sebaceous tumors rarely spread. They have a greater tendency towards ulceration than do the benign growths. Cocker spaniels seem to be predisposed.

It is not uncommon for an elderly dog to develop scores of "warts" that are not warts at all but are sebaceous growths. They are generally of cosmetic concern only but removal is recommended under the following circumstances:

• when the growth has been bleeding
• when the growth is itchy or is in a location where it is bothering the pet.
• when the growth is in a location where it interferes with normal grooming

These growths are typically small (pea size or smaller) and are thus generally amenable to removal with local anesthetic. This is helpful since often patients are older and not good anesthesia candidates. It is usually not practical to remove all the sebaceous growths but the most troublesome can be selected for removal.

Posted on: 2005/6/16 14:08
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