Cysts in Dogs

A cyst is a closed, fluid-filled growth that develops in otherwise normal tissue. Cysts vary in size and can develop anywhere in the body.

Skin Cysts
Some dogs develop benign keratinized skin cysts filled with a skin protein called keratin. Most keratinized skin cysts are malformations of the hair follicles and are the same color as your pet’s hair. They can appear as one individual cyst or in multiples; surgical removal is an option.

Dilated pores of Winer Cysts are rare, hair follicle growths that occur in older dogs and more often in males. This type of growth is dome-shaped and may protrude from the surface of the skin. It looks like a blackhead.

There are several kinds of keratinized cysts found in dogs including isthmus catagen cysts, matrix cysts, hybrid cysts, and dermoid cysts. Dermoid cysts are benign and congenital (the dog is born with them) and occur more often in Boxers, Kerry Blue Terriers, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Keratinized cysts contains fully-formed hair shafts and can appear as a single cyst or in multiples.

Cysts of the Ovaries
Follicular cysts are fluid-filled structures that develop within the ovary and cause the prolonged secretion of estrogen and continuous signs of estrus (heat) in females. This type of cyst should be suspected in any dog demonstrating signs of heat lasting more than 40 days.

Your vet will use lab tests and ultrasonography to confirm if a cyst exists. If it does, the preferred treatment is removal of the ovaries and uterus, which is curative. If you intend to breed your dog then the administration of drugs that cause ovulation may resolve the problem, however it is important to monitor your dog closely for signs of uterine disease.

Apocrine Gland Cysts of the Sweet Glands

Apocrine Gland Cysts are found in middle-aged dogs and develop in or outside the hair follicle; most typically on the head and neck. This type of cyst in not cancerous and can be removed surgically.

Apocrine Gland Adenomas are firm to soft cysts containing clear to brownish fluid. They are found in older dogs and are generally develop on the head, neck, and legs. Dogs most susceptible to this type of cyst include Great Pyrenees, Chow Chows, and Alaskan Malamutes.

Apocrine Ductular Adenomas are found in older dogs and appear close to the skin surface. They are benign and can be removed surgically.

Apocrine Gland Adenocarcinomas are rare malignant tumors of the sweat glands. Their appearance varies from a thick lump to an ulcer that is likely to spread across the skin. The preferred treatment is complete removal. In dogs, they occur most often in Peekapoos, Old English Sheepdogs, and English Springer Spaniels.

Kidney Cysts
This type of cyst is usually detected accidentally and generally does not interfere with normal kidney function. It is unclear what causes kidney cysts.

Liver Cysts
Dogs can be born with liver cysts or develop them over time. Most cysts of the liver go undetected however they occasionally cause symptoms such as abdominal swelling, lethargy, vomiting, and excessive thirst.

Additional Support
Never attempt to remove a cyst by squeezing it as this can spread the contents of the cyst into the surrounding tissue and can cause severe inflammation. The use of dietary supplements to help cleanse the body and the organs may help reduce cysts.

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