As a dog owner, you do everything possible to keep your furry friend safe, healthy, and happy. If you have ever petted your dog and felt a lump, your mind has likely gone straight to the scary “C” word. Thankfully, many lumps on a dog are caused by sebaceous adenomas. They are usually harmless, so breathe a sigh of relief and keep reading.
Dogs Can Develop Multiple Skin Conditions
Dogs can develop several skin conditions, including lumps and bumps. While it is important to seek a veterinarian checkup, most lumps and bumps turn out to be harmless. In this article, you will learn all about sebaceous adenoma in dogs, including how it is treated and what you need to do as a dog owner if you spot a lump on your dog.
What Is Sebaceous Adenoma in Dogs?
A sebaceous adenoma is one of five types of sebaceous gland tumors that can develop in dogs. This is a non-viral cutaneous wart, which means your dog’s immune system cannot fight the growth.
Sebaceous adenoma is one of the most common types of tumors in dogs. Although they look like warts and can be frightening, these growths will cause no harm to your dog and cannot spread.
These growths look like hairless protrusions that almost resemble cauliflower. You will find these in different areas of your dog’s body, including the following.
The most commonly affected areas of a dog are the back legs, abdomen, and back. While they can occur with any dog, they most commonly affect senior dogs that are between the ages of eight and thirteen.
What Causes Sebaceous Adenomas in Dogs?
Just like humans, dogs have sebaceous glands that distribute oils to the skin and hair. The oily substance they produce is called sebum. Sometimes, these oil glands can begin to overproduce and cause the gland to become bigger.
You can tell the difference between sebaceous adenomas and viral warts because of the oiliness of these growths. If they are squeezed, a clear, white, or blackish oily substance will come out.
Do Sebaceous Adenomas Affect a Dog’s Health?
Sebaceous adenomas are typically benign tumors and contain no cancerous cells. They very rarely grow large enough to require surgical removal. If you leave it alone, this growth will likely not bother your dog.
There are a few ways these growths can affect your dog, so it is important to know what to expect.
- The oils that are secreted can sometimes cause scabbing and irritation.
- Your dog may experience itching because of the growth. Scratching can lead to wounds and infections.
- Depending on the area, these growths can become irritated and prevent healthy movement.
How Does a Vet Diagnose Sebaceous Adenomas?
When you take your dog to the vet, the diagnosis will depend on a physical examination and questions asked by the doctor. You should be prepared to answer the following questions.
- How long has the growth been there?
- Does the growth cause your dog pain?
- Are there multiple masses? Where are they located?
- Has the mass changed in appearance?
- Has the mass grown in size?
- Has the dog suffered any recent injuries or illnesses?
- Have there been any changes in the dog’s behavior?
With a physical examination, the vet will check for oily residue. The veterinarian will also check to see if the mass is attached deep within the skin or is a superficial growth. The vet will also look for signs of discomfort and will check to see if the growth is fevered.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine a diagnosis based on examination alone. If the vet is concerned, they may perform a fine needle biopsy to ensure the growth is not cancerous or viral.
What are the Differences in Sebaceous Cysts & Sebaceous Adenomas?
Sebaceous cysts in dogs are much less common than adenomas. They develop because of an obstruction in the follicles. Sebaceous cysts are small pouches filled with sebum.
The two are similar because they are both benign growths that do not cause pain for a dog. In some cases, depending on the location, these growths can become tender.
The main difference between the two is sebaceous cysts are cysts filled with fluid and sebaceous adenomas are solid tissue growths.
How are Sebaceous Adenomas Treated?
For most dogs, these growths do not need any medical treatment. If they do not change in appearance or grow in size, they can be left alone.
There are occasions where a vet may want to remove these growths. If the sebaceous adenoma becomes infected, irritated, or painful, it may need to be treated or removed.
Sometimes, these growths form on sensitive areas, such as the mouth or eyelids. Growths in these areas are more likely to become injured and painful.
In the above cases, a surgeon can remove these growths under general or local anesthesia. The surgery is straightforward and involves the removal of the sebaceous adenoma and some of the underlying tissue to ensure the adenoma does not grow back after surgery.
Will More Tumors Grow on My Dog?
Although sebaceous adenomas are not viral and cannot spread, it is common for dogs to develop more than one throughout their lives. Sometimes, these tumors can grow in groups.
New tumor growth is normal as a dog ages. If your dog develops new growths with different appearances or the sebaceous adenoma begins to grow in size, see your vet right away. It is important your vet diagnoses the growth properly.
What Should You Do If the Sebaceous Adenoma Becomes Infected?
Sebaceous adenomas can rupture and become infected. You must understand the warning signs of problems with a sebaceous adenoma, so you will know what steps to take to relieve your dog’s discomfort.
If you notice any of the following signs of infection, contact your veterinarian right away. Infections can spread and cause serious illnesses.
- Redness & inflammation
- Pus drainage
- Excessive scratching, licking or biting at the area
- Loss of appetite
Never ignore these signs! Infections in dogs can be just as serious as in humans. If the infection enters the dog’s bloodstream, your dog could become seriously ill. Always err on the side of caution and see the vet right away.
If the sebaceous adenoma is infected, your vet may decide to remove the growth and then treat any residual infection systemically, with oral antibiotics. If your dog is prescribed antibiotics, make sure to complete the entire prescription, even if your dog’s symptoms begin to improve.
What About Sebaceous Carcinomas?
Cancer is automatically a concern when you find growth in your dog. The good news is, less than 2% of sebaceous growths turn out to be cancerous. That being said, sebaceous carcinomas do occur in dogs.
If your dog is diagnosed with sebaceous carcinoma, the growth will be removed via surgery. Sometimes, cancer therapy drugs may be administered. If cancer has not spread, further treatment will likely not be needed.
How Long Does It Take for a Sebaceous Adenoma to Go Away?
While sebaceous adenomas are mostly cosmetic nuisances, dog owners often want them to go away as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, without surgical removal, these growths tend to stay around for a long time. They may never go away.
If the sebaceous adenoma is not bothering your dog, there is nothing to worry about. Just be careful when doing DIY dog grooming in that area because you could irritate it with a brush or your hands.
Which Dog Breeds are More Likely to Develop Sebaceous Adenomas?
Some breeds are more prone to developing sebaceous adenomas than others. If your dog is one of the breeds below, they are more likely to develop these growths between the ages of 8-13.
- English Cocker Spaniel
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Toy Poodle
- Basset Hound
- Cairn Terrier
- West Highland White Terrier
- Shih Tzu
- Miniature Schnauzer
If your dog is one of these breeds, keep a careful check on it for the development of sebaceous adenomas . If you find any growths, report them to your dog’s vet right away for a diagnosis.
What Should I Do If I Discover a Sebaceous Adenoma on My Dog?
The most important thing to avoid if you discover a sebaceous adenoma on your dog is panic. It can be frightening finding a lump or bump on your precious dog. Once you know your dog has a sebaceous adenoma, you can take the following steps.
1. Do Nothing
In most cases, there is nothing for an owner to do with benign tumors . Never try to remove it yourself or cause it to rupture. Taking a DIY approach could lead to injuries or infection.
2. Watch for Changes
Although you should not become hyper-focused on the lump, you should also not ignore it. Keep a watch on the growth and look for signs of infection, increased size, or irritation. If any of these signs occur, report them to your veterinarian right away.
3. Monitor Your Dog’s Overall Health
As dog owners, we can sometimes find ourselves worrying so much over a single growth that we forget to keep a watch on our dog’s overall health. To keep your dog healthy, only feed him the best organic dog food with a main ingredient of meat.
Watch for changes in bathroom habits, eating, drinking, and activity. If any are noticed, take your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
FAQ About Sebaceous Adenoma in Dogs
Maybe you have more questions about sebaceous adenoma in dogs or you simply want the above information to be simplified. Here are some of the top questions owners ask, along with answers.
1. How do you get rid of sebaceous adenoma?
When asking how to get rid of sebaceous adenoma  dogs, most vets will tell you to take a wait-and-see approach. Unless the growth is becoming infected or irritated, there is no real reason to put your dog through surgery. If your dog’s growth is bothering him, becoming larger, or showing signs of infection, your vet can perform a surgical excision to remove the adenoma.
2. Do sebaceous adenomas fall off dogs?
Most dog growths are small, around the size of a pea. They will likely not fall off, but they can slowly grow smaller. If you discover growth in your dog, it is best to leave it alone. You should know these growths may last a very long time and may never go away.
3. Why do dogs get sebaceous adenoma?
Most benign skin growths occur because of an overgrowth of skin connective tissue, blockages, or overproduction of an oily substance called sebum. There is no way to prevent these growths in their entirety, but it helps to keep your dog bathed and fed healthy foods. As an added hint, make sure to purchase a dog GPS tracker collar for your dog, so your furry friend can be found if he gets lost.
4. What does a sebaceous adenoma look like?
Sebaceous adenomas look like flesh-colored or pinkish growths that are firmly attached to the skin. They have a cauliflower-like appearance. You will likely find these growths to be oily, and they may secrete a white or blackish oily liquid.
Protect Your Dog’s Health
Protecting your dog’s health should be your main concern as a dog owner. If you find growth and are worried, it never hurts to have your vet take a look. Don’t be afraid if your dog develops sebaceous adenoma. These are typically harmless and will not affect your dog’s health.