Sebaceous Glands in Dogs

Your dog's sebaceous glands are tiny glands just underneath the surface of his skin. When functioning correctly, these glands work to produce an oil called sebum that helps to keep the skin lubricated. Unfortunately, however, there are a number of problems that can develop in your pet's sebaceous glands, including overactivity. When your pet has overactive sebaceous glands, he will develop growths on the surface of his skin which may appear to be warts or other types of cysts.

Symptoms of Overactive Sebaceous Glands

Although overactive sebaceous glands are typically not a major medical concern for your pet, it's important that you recognize them if they affect your dog. You should be concerned by any growth or unusual skin condition that develops on your dog's body, and it's therefore important that you take action quickly to diagnose the problem. If you notice any of the following symptoms, take your pet in to the vet's office for a full examination and diagnosis:

  • Bleeding from the skin without sign of injury
  • Pus or other discharge from bumps on the skin
  • Cauliflower-shaped growths on the skin
  • Excessive biting or scratching at parts of the skin

When Action Is Necessary

In most cases, sebaceous gland growths will not cause your pet any discomfort and are completely benign. For these situations, you actually put your pet more at risk by attempting to remove the growths than by leaving them alone, and most veterinarians will recommend leaving the growths as they are. You will need to continue to monitor them to be sure that they don't develop into a dangerous condition, however.

Cases in which you will need to remove sebaceous gland growths from your pet's skin include times in which those growths are bleeding or discharging pus. Additionally, if the growths have occurred in places that are sensitive for your pet or which may disrupt other functions, like on his eyelids or in or around his mouth and nose. Finally, vets will oftentimes recommend that you remove these growths if your pet is picking, biting, or chewing on them. Your pet can cause himself a variety of other problems by continuing this behavior.

Treating Sebaceous Gland Growths in Dogs

The primary treatment for growths that develop as a result of overactive sebaceous glands is surgery. Local anesthetic is typically used, and the procedure is relatively simple and will not require an overnight stay in the hospital. You'll need to provide your pet with post-operative care while his wounds heal, and return trips to the veterinarian will be necessary in order to ensure that your pet doesn't suffer from any secondary infections or other complications from the surgical procedure.

Sebaceous gland growths and overactivity is most common in older pets, but it can occur in dogs of any age or breed. Both genders are equally likely to develop problems of this nature. By diagnosing your pet's sebaceous gland problems early, you can be sure that he isn't suffering from a more serious condition.