Follicular Cysts in a Dog: Sasha’s Naughty Recurring Skin Growths

Cysts are enclosed sacs with liquid or solid non-infectious content. The different types of cysts include

  • true cysts
  • sebaceous cysts
  • follicular cysts
  • dermoid cysts
  • false cysts

Further information: Cysts

Follicular cysts are large bumps on a dog’s skin. They form in hair follicles and can be filled with thick white, yellow, or brown material. As they grow, they might ooze, itch, and hurt.

A proper diagnosis begins with a fine needle aspirate.

Follicular Cysts in a Dog: Sasha's Skin Growths

Sasha’s story

Sasha was a 12-year-old Terrier Cross. She was a rescue who became a wonderful companion to her dad. Her adoption was a blessing for both of them.

Sasha’s bump

When Sasha grew a bump on her right hind leg, the veterinarian biopsied the mass. The results were suspicious, and everybody felt it was best to remove it surgically.

The veterinarian sent the removed tissue to a lab to confirm what it really was. Fortunately, the analysis determined that Sasha’s bump was a trichoepithelioma, a follicular cyst.

Follicular cysts are benign and need surgery only when they cause trouble. However, since the initial sample looked suspicious, taking the lump out was the safest approach.

Once the cyst is removed, it should not return.

More bumps

Indeed, the cyst did not regrow. However, two new ones appeared, this time on Sasha’s torso. Sasha’s dad and veterinarian needed to decide whether to remove them or leave them be. Surgery is an invasive procedure, and, at her age, Sasha had a hard time recovering.

To confirm they were indeed dealing with the same growths, the veterinarian aspirated the two new bumps. This time, there was nothing suspicious about what he saw under the microscope–just the expected thick pasty material.

To cut or not to cut?

Because the findings were conclusive and surgery was hard on Sasha, her dad decided to avoid operating. Together with Sasha’s veterinarian, they were going to proceed by simply monitoring the lumps. If they grew or something about them changed, they could always change strategy.

The potential complications from leaving follicular cysts in place are that they can grow, rupture, or get infected. It might never come to that, though.

For ten months, the cysts behaved and didn’t bother Sasha at all.

The cysts become infected

After ten months, though, Sasha started fussing with the lumps, licking them incessantly. The skin around was red and irritated. That was new, so Sasha’s dad went back to the veterinarian to have them checked.

The veterinarian immediately noticed that the cysts also grew, and the area around was swollen and inflamed—one of the cysts got infected.

Sasha’s cyst needed to be drained, and she had to get antibiotics. As well as the veterinarian added anti-inflammatory cream to make Sasha more comfortable.

The part Sasha liked the least was the cone of shame she had to wear for the next week because licking and chewing at the area would only aggravate things.

After about a week, the infection resolved, and Sasha’s tissues calmed down. Hopefully, the cysts will behave again.

Source story:
Sasha, the 12-Year-old Cross-Bred Terrier

Related articles:
What Is That Bump on My Dog: Canine Lumps, Bumps, and Growths

Further reading:
Follicular Cysts in Dogs

Categories: ConditionsCystsDog health advocacyLumps and bumpsLumps and bumpsReal-life StoriesSymptoms

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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