Have you ever seen a Sebaceous Adenoma on a dog? I would be willing to bet you have but were unaware of what it was, as these are common in older dogs, and many are not removed due to their benign nature. These adenomas are usually pinkish and have lobules and are found on the head, but they exist elsewhere as well.
The sebaceous system is basically the oil-producing glands in the skin. These glands secrete sebum into the hair follicles and onto the skin. Sebum is important for keeping the skin soft and moist. It is sebum that gives the coat of a dog that sheen and it has antibiotic properties. The oil glands can be found in large numbers near the paws, back of the neck, chin, rump, and tail area.
These adenomas grow outward on the skin and can ooze a white oily material. Masses are usually ¼” to 1” inch in size and sometimes they might have subcutaneous tissue involvement. The best news of all is that sebaceous adenoma in dogs is usually not cancerous!
Breeds that are most likely to have sebaceous adenomas are Cocker Spaniels, English Cocker Spaniels, West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Shih Tzu, Beagles, Basset Hounds, Toy and Miniature Poodles, Dachshund, Huskies, Coonhounds, Samoyeds, and Alaskan Malamutes.
Removal isn’t necessary unless it is bothering the dog due to a placement that causes them to rub it or lick it constantly, such as on the legs close to the feet. Occasionally these become infected and need further treatment. A fine-needle aspirate is recommended to make sure it is benign. Malignant tumors such as matrical carcinoma and sebaceous gland adenocarcinoma are a rare possibility. Sebaceous adenomas in dogs should not be confused with sebaceous hyperplasia’s which looks more like a wart.
There are several types of sebaceous gland tumors, some of which are cancerous. Therefore we continuously tell you to Check Your Dog each month for anything new that might come up. If you find anything, have it checked out by your vet because early detection is key. For these types of growths, you could be referred to a Dermatology vet for treatment or accurate diagnosis.
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