Understanding the Sebaceous Adenoma in Dogs

Pet Health


November 26, 2020

There are various kinds of skin tumors that usually develop on the adnexa and the skin. The adnexa is the part adjoining the skin. Fatty tumors, known as lipomas, are perhaps the most common ones, and the second most common tumor that builds up is the sebaceous adenoma, which usually forms on the sebaceous glands.

The sebaceous glands of living things such as dogs and cats are designed to produce sebum, which is an oily substance. Human beings also produce sebum and it is a natural substance that plays a very important role in lubricating the skin. The small ducts of the sebaceous glands are usually found in the hair follicles.

Another issue that might arise from the sebaceous glands is known as a sebaceous cyst. However, sebaceous cysts are not common among dogs.

An Overview

Sebaceous adenoma dog is quite common over the passage of time and understanding what is sebaceous adenoma is important. Unless you know what it is, you won’t be able to help the animal properly. In the simplest of terms, a sebaceous adenoma is considered to be a benign tumor that usually originates from the glandular or ductal tissue.

These adenomas usually occur in dogs and are commonly found on their head, back, limbs, and eyelids. Basically, these are hairless protrusions that are firmly rooted in the dog’s skin, and usually look like cauliflower. The occurrence and chances of sebaceous adenomas increase considerably as the dog gets older, usually over the age of seven or eight years.

Dogs that are more prone to this problem are likely to get more and more sebaceous adenomas as they age. There are a few things that you need to watch out for so that you can diagnose the problem before it turns into a major issue.

How Bad Is it?

While the sebaceous adenoma actually looks and sounds scary, you should know that this is one of the most common kinds of tumors found in dogs. They are just like warts, in general. In most cases, you can just leave the sebaceous adenoma alone and not have to worry about it.

There are going to be occasions where you will notice tufts of hair growing from the dog’s sebaceous adenoma as well. This is a bit uncommon though, as these are mainly hairless protrusions on the dog’s back. But, you need to know that while it’s usually fine to leave it alone, it can turn into a serious problem.

For instance, the sebaceous adenoma can eventually turn into the sebaceous adenocarcinoma, which is malignant. You need to carefully monitor your pet for any kind of changes in their adenoma, and if you notice any change or see that it’s turning malignant, you should take action as quickly as possible.

For instance, if you see any ulcerations or growth, you might want to consider visiting a vet for treatment. They will be able to guide you about the steps that you need to take.

How to Diagnose the Problem

The diagnosis of a sebaceous adenoma is primarily dependent on some important things, usually the history and the close examination of the dog’s mass. You might want to consider taking your dog to a vet, as they will be able to diagnose a sebaceous adenoma simply by looking at it.

Usually, dog owners tend to mistake sebaceous adenomas with other things, such as acrochordon. It is also likely that your veterinarian will ask you a series of questions. Some of the questions that you might be asked are as follows:

  • When was the first time you noticed the mass on your dog’s body?
  • Is there only one mass on the dog’s body, or have you noticed others as well?
  • Has the mass changed in size or appearance over the passage of time, especially since you first noticed it?
  • How fast has the growth been on the mass, if any?
  • Does it look as if the mass is firmly attached to the skin underneath?
  • Have you noticed any difference in your pet’s behavior? For instance, has the dog undergone serious weight loss or has it stopped eating as much as it used to? These are all important signs and may serve as key indicators in the overall change in your pet’s health.
  • Have you noticed any masses or growths, or even lumps, in the past few months?
  • Has the dog received any injection as of late, or has it suffered an injury?

A Physical Exam

There’s really no such thing as a self-diagnosis in these issues, and it’s generally a wise idea to visit a vet. The vet will carry out a thorough physical examination and pay close attention to the masses on the dog’s skin. This will make it easy for the vet to identify any other masses and then figure out whether it’s just a sebaceous tumor or something bigger.

There are also likely to be a few tests conducted on the dog. For instance, a fine needle aspiration test might be carried out to come up with a microscopic assessment that this is, in fact, just a sebaceous adenoma. Then, the vets might take an aspirate of the mass to collect the cells and determine what’s wrong. No anesthesia is needed for such a test.

Finally, for absolute answers, the vet might conduct a biopsy to get a verdict from an experienced vet pathologist regarding the growth of the mass.


There’s really no treatment needed, so you don’t have to worry about how to help sebaceous adenoma dog. The dog doesn’t feel any pain, and it doesn’t suffer from any issues. As long as it’s just a sebaceous adenoma, you won’t have much to worry about.

However, if the problem turns into something major, then you might have to go to a vet. Usually, though, it doesn’t happen. In fact, you can even get the adenoma removed if you want. This is a surgical procedure, and the vets will administer a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to treat the problem and remove the mass.

This is usually necessary when the mass is growing near their mouth or near the eyelid, in which case it usually turns into a serious problem and can get damaged. Once the surgical procedure is complete, the vets are going to place sutures in the dog’s skin, which will be removed after a couple of weeks.

Treating a sebaceous adenoma is not going to be a problem, but you need to be wary of this problem. If you notice the color changing of the adenoma or if you see multiple others appearing on the dog’s body, going to a vet for treatment is an essential requirement. Do not dally on this, because you might not know just how quickly the malignant tumor is spreading (if there is one).

If you want complete peace of mind, then the best option is to just get it surgically removed, though it will cost you a bit of money.