Sebaceous cysts in cats

Sebaceous Cysts in Cats

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What is a sebaceous cyst?

Sebaceous cyst

Also known as epidermal inclusion cysts, sebaceous cysts are pockets of tissue composed of a thick, cheesy, yellow substance known as sebum, a secretion of the sebaceous gland comprised of fat and cellular debris, which lubricates and protects the skin.

Sebum originates from the sebaceous glands, which are tiny glands located within the hair follicle. Sebaceous cysts occur when the follicle becomes blocked, causing a build-up of sebum to occur. Left untreated, sebaceous cysts can become infected and therefore while the cysts themselves are harmless, they should be seen to by a veterinarian.

There is no breed, age or sex predisposition.

Symptoms

  • The most common areas to develop cysts are the head, neck, and trunk. Cysts can grow up to 1-2 inches in diameter.
  • Smooth, soft fluid-filled lumps which may have a blue hue to them.
  • Occasionally the cyst will rupture, and ooze a thick paste-like yellow-grey substance.

Diagnosis

The veterinarian can make a tentative diagnosis based on physical examination. He may wish to perform a biopsy or a fine needle aspiration on the cyst to determine if it is a benign or malignant (cancerous) tumour.

Treatment

Do not attempt to squeeze cysts yourself, if you notice any growths on your cat, seek veterinary attention.

  • Some veterinarians will apply a wait and see approach (benign neglect) and leave the cyst alone. If this is the case, you will need to regularly monitor the cyst for signs of growth or infection.
  • In some cases, your veterinarian may drain the cyst.
  • Surgical excision of the cyst although new cysts may grow. Removal of the cyst will usually be by electrocautery or cryosurgery.
  • Antibiotics if a secondary infection is present.




Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care.Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time.Full author bio Contact Julia

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