Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies | Symptoms, Causes, Treatment : Highlighting Weird Ocular Dermoids

By: Danielle Harris

* This post contains affiliate links, and we will be compensated if you buy after clicking on our links.

dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies

Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies are common skin growths that can occur anywhere on the body. These cysts may be present at birth or develop later in life, causing discomfort if left untreated.

While dermoid cysts are often benign, they can form cystic masses known as dermoid sinuses. These sinuses can lead to infections and other complications if not addressed promptly.

Different breeds of dogs, including hairless breeds and golden retrievers, may be more prone to developing dermoid cysts. It is important for dog owners to be aware of the signs and symptoms associated with these cysts, such as the presence of a palpable lump or a draining sinus opening.

Understanding these aspects will help dog owners provide proper care for their furry companions.

Table of Contents – Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies

Types of Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies can come in different types, each with its own characteristics. Understanding these types can help you identify and address any issues that may arise. Let’s take a closer look at the various types of dermoid cysts commonly found in our furry friends.

Epidermoid Cysts

The most common type of dermoid cyst in dogs and puppies is the epidermoid cyst. These cysts develop when skin cells become trapped beneath the surface, forming a small bump or lump. Epidermoid cysts are typically harmless, but they can occasionally become infected or cause discomfort for your pet.

Sebaceous Cysts

Sebaceous cysts are another type of dermoid cyst that is frequently seen in dogs and puppies. These cysts form when the sebaceous glands, which produce oil to lubricate the skin and hair, become blocked or damaged. As a result, a pocket filled with oily material develops under the skin. Sebaceous cysts are usually benign unless they become infected or grow excessively large.

I started to notice a small scar on Dahlias face once she reached 6-8 weeks of age. I thought this was from puppy play and it could have! Over the years though, I noticed it started to try to grow hair!!!!!! One day, one of them popped open. She was due for a litter so I had the vet remove them during her c section.

dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
dermoid cyst starting to form
Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies – Notice the small scar on her face, this later turns into the cyst. There is also one on the top of her head. 8 weeks old.
dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
cyst on top of dogs head popped
Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies – Sebaceous cyst pops on dogs head, sac and other cyst surgically removed. 2 years old.

Follicular Cysts

Follicular cysts are dermoid cysts that form around hair follicles in dogs and puppies. They occur when a hair follicle becomes enlarged or obstructed, leading to the accumulation of fluid or debris within it. Follicular cysts can vary in size and may cause irritation or discomfort for your pet if they become inflamed or infected.

Sinus Tracts

In some cases, deep-rooted dermoid cysts can lead to the development of sinus tracts. Sinus tracts are narrow channels that connect an underlying abscess or infection to an external opening on the skin’s surface. These tracts can be challenging to treat as they require addressing both the underlying infection and the associated dermoid cyst.

Understanding these different types of dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies is essential for proper identification and management. It’s important to note that while most dermoid cysts are benign, they can sometimes cause discomfort or lead to complications if left untreated. If you notice any unusual lumps or bumps on your dog’s skin, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Remember, only a qualified veterinarian can provide accurate guidance based on your pet’s specific situation. They may recommend various treatment options, including monitoring the cyst, draining it if necessary, or surgically removing it. Always prioritize the well-being and health of your furry companion by seeking professional advice when needed.

Causes and Symptoms of Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies can be caused by a variety of factors. While genetics may play a role in their development, trauma or injury to the skin can also trigger cyst formation. These cysts are usually benign and do not pose a significant health risk to your furry friend.

One possible cause of dermoid cysts is genetics. Just like humans inherit certain traits from their parents, dogs can inherit a predisposition to develop these cysts. If your dog’s parents or close relatives have had dermoid cysts, there is a higher chance that your dog may also develop them.

Another common cause is trauma or injury to the skin. When a dog experiences an injury, such as a cut or puncture wound, it can sometimes lead to the formation of a dermoid cyst. The body’s natural response to the injury is to form scar tissue, which can sometimes result in the formation of these cysts.

So how do you know if your dog has a dermoid cyst? Well, there are several symptoms that you should look out for. One common symptom is swelling around the affected area. You may notice that the skin appears raised or puffy, indicating the presence of a cyst.

In addition to swelling, redness and discharge from the cyst are also common symptoms. The area around the cyst may become inflamed and irritated, leading to redness and possibly some discharge. It’s important to keep an eye on any changes in your dog’s skin so that you can identify these symptoms early on.

Some dogs may also experience itching or pain around the affected area. They might scratch at the site of the cyst or show signs of discomfort when touched. If you notice any signs of itching or pain, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Recognizing and Diagnosing Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies can manifest as raised, round bumps on the skin’s surface. These cysts may vary in size, color, or texture over time, so it’s important to observe any changes that occur. If you notice any suspicious bumps on your pet, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention for a proper diagnosis.

Look for raised, round bumps on the skin’s surface

One of the key signs of dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies is the presence of raised, round bumps on the skin. These bumps can appear anywhere on the body but are most commonly found around areas such as the nasal midline or areas prone to trauma. It’s essential to keep an eye out for these unusual growths during regular grooming sessions or when petting your furry friend.

Observe any changes in size, color, or texture of the bump over time

While dermoid cysts may initially appear as small nodules, they can grow larger over time. Pay attention to any changes in size, color, or texture of the bump. If you notice that it has increased in size or has become inflamed, it could be an indication of a dermoid cyst. If you see any discharge or notice your dog scratching excessively at the area, it may be worth investigating further.

A veterinarian will perform a physical examination to confirm diagnosis

If you suspect that your dog or puppy has a dermoid cyst, it is crucial to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. During a physical examination, the vet will carefully inspect the affected area and assess its characteristics. They may also inquire about any clinical signs your pet is exhibiting to gather more information about their condition.

In some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other conditions

To definitively diagnose dermoid cysts and rule out other potential conditions, a veterinarian may recommend a biopsy. This procedure involves taking a small sample of tissue from the cyst and sending it for histopathology analysis. By examining the tissue under a microscope, the vet can confirm whether it is indeed a dermoid cyst or if further investigation is required.

Treatment Options for Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies can vary in size and severity. The appropriate treatment option depends on the specific characteristics of the cyst and its impact on the dog’s health. Here are some common treatment options to consider:

Small, asymptomatic cysts may not require treatment.

In some cases, small dermoid cysts that do not cause any discomfort or health issues may be left untreated. These cysts are typically harmless and may not require intervention. Regular monitoring by a veterinarian is important to ensure that the cyst remains asymptomatic.

If a dermoid cyst grows in size or causes discomfort to your furry friend, surgical removal may be necessary. This procedure involves excising the entire cyst along with its surrounding tissue. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian who can assess the size and location of the cyst to determine if surgery is needed.

Laser therapy can be used as a non-invasive treatment option.

Laser therapy is an alternative option for treating dermoid cysts without resorting to surgery. This non-invasive procedure uses focused light energy to destroy abnormal tissue while leaving healthy tissue intact. Laser therapy can be effective for smaller dermoid cysts or those located in sensitive areas where surgery may pose additional risks.

Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is an infection associated with the cyst.

In some cases, dermoid cysts can become infected, leading to inflammation and discomfort for your furry companion. If an infection is present, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to address the underlying issue. It’s crucial to follow their instructions carefully and complete the full course of medication to ensure proper healing.

While these treatment options provide potential solutions for managing dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies, it’s important to remember that each case is unique. Consulting with a qualified veterinarian will help determine the best course of action for your pet. They will consider factors such as the size, location, and symptoms associated with the cyst to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Managing Dermoid Cysts in the Eye of Dogs and Puppies

Dermoid cysts near the eye can be a cause for concern in dogs and puppies. These cysts, also known as ocular dermoids, are abnormal growths that can appear on the eyelids or around the eye area. If you notice any unusual growths or abnormalities near your dog’s eye, it is important to have them evaluated by an ophthalmologist for proper management.

I have only seen this once in one of my clients pups. He came to me with help for an eye infection in a young puppy but when I opened, flushed, and looked at the eye I was amazed at what I found. When I opened the eye, I found a lump!

dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies – eye infection with underlying unknown cyst
dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
Dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies – Cyst revealed after cleaning of infection

Here are some photos of how the dermoid progressed over the next 8 weeks

He was also affected by a dermoid directly on the eyeball itself.

It was recommended to have them surgically removed. The dermoid on the eyeball has a chance of coming back and the eye itself may need to be removed.

I don’t know what the final outcome was but I thought it was pretty interesting.

The cause is unknown but experts are suspicious that ocular dermoids are hereditary.

dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
8 weeks old
dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies
ocular dermoid
8 weeks old

Evaluation by an Ophthalmologist

Seeking professional evaluation from an ophthalmologist is crucial. These specialists have expertise in diagnosing and treating eye conditions in animals. They will carefully examine the cyst and determine the best course of action based on its location, size, and potential impact on vision.

Surgical Excision

In many cases, surgical excision is necessary to remove dermoid cysts near the eye. Due to their proximity to such a sensitive area, these growths can potentially impair vision if left untreated. During surgery, the veterinarian will carefully remove the cyst while taking precautions not to damage surrounding structures.


  • Surgical excision ensures complete removal of the dermoid cyst.
  • It reduces the risk of complications associated with long-term presence.
  • It helps restore normal function and appearance of the eye.


  • Surgery may require anesthesia and involve some risks associated with it.
  • There may be a need for post-operative care to prevent infection or other complications.

Post-Operative Care

After surgical removal of a dermoid cyst near the eye, careful post-operative care is essential to promote healing and prevent complications. Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions tailored to your dog’s needs. These instructions may include:

  1. Administering prescribed medications such as antibiotics or pain relievers.
  2. Applying prescribed ointments or drops to the surgical site.
  3. Restricting activities that may put strain on the eye area, such as vigorous play or rubbing of the eyes.
  4. Regularly monitoring the surgical site for any signs of infection or abnormal discharge.

Regular Eye Exams

Regular eye exams are vital for early detection and treatment of dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies. During these exams, an ophthalmologist can identify any new growths or changes in existing cysts. Early intervention can help prevent complications and ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend’s eye health.

Treating Dermoid Cysts in Other Body Areas of Dogs and Puppies

The location of the cyst plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate treatment approach. Let’s dive into how these cysts are treated when they occur in other areas of the body.

Surgical Removal for Cysts on the Body or Limbs

In cases where dermoid cysts are found on the body or limbs of dogs and puppies, surgical removal is commonly recommended. This procedure, known as excision, involves cutting out the cyst along with a margin of healthy tissue to ensure complete removal. The surgery is typically performed under general anesthesia by a veterinary surgeon specializing in small animal surgery.


  • Surgical removal offers a permanent solution by completely eliminating the cyst.
  • It allows for further examination of the removed tissue to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any underlying issues.


  • Surgery may involve some risks associated with anesthesia and post-operative complications.
  • The recovery period after surgery may require restricted activity and close monitoring.

Drainage for Large, Fluid-Filled Cysts

In certain cases, dermoid cysts can become large and filled with fluid. In such situations, drainage may be necessary to relieve discomfort and reduce the size of the cyst. This procedure involves puncturing or lancing the cyst to release its contents.


  • Drainage provides immediate relief from symptoms such as pain or swelling.
  • It can help shrink the cyst, making it easier to manage or remove surgically if needed.


  • Drainage alone does not guarantee complete removal of the cyst.
  • There is a risk of infection if proper sterile techniques are not followed during drainage.

Follow-Up Care: Monitoring for Recurrence or Infection

After treating dermoid cysts in other body areas of dogs and puppies, follow-up care is essential to monitor for any signs of recurrence or infection. It is important to keep a close eye on the surgical site and the overall health of the patient.

Key Points:

  • Regular check-ups with the veterinarian are crucial to ensure proper healing and detect any complications.
  • Any signs of recurrence, such as the development of new cysts or regrowth at the surgical site, should be promptly addressed.
  • In case of infection, appropriate treatment with antibiotics may be necessary.

Understanding and Caring for Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

We have discussed the causes and symptoms to watch out for, as well as how to recognize and diagnose these cysts. We have covered various treatment options available for managing dermoid cysts in dogs, including specific guidance on treating cysts in the eye and other body areas.

Now that you are equipped with a better understanding of dermoid cysts in dogs and puppies, it’s important to take action if you suspect your furry friend may be affected. If you notice any unusual lumps or growths on your dog’s skin or around their eyes, don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian. Early detection and proper treatment can make a significant difference in your pet’s health and well-being.

FAQs about Dermoid Cysts in Dogs and Puppies

Can dermoid cysts be cancerous?

Dermoid cysts are typically benign growths that do not pose a cancer risk. However, it is essential to have any suspicious growth examined by a veterinarian to rule out any potential malignancy.

Are certain dog breeds more prone to developing dermoid cysts?

While dermoid cysts can occur in any breed of dog or puppy, some breeds may be more predisposed due to genetic factors. Breeds such as Boxers, Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and German Shepherds have been reported to have a higher incidence of dermoid cyst development.

Can I prevent my dog from developing dermoid cysts?

Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to prevent the formation of dermoid cysts since they are often congenital or develop spontaneously. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help detect any issues early on.

Are all dermoid cyst removal surgeries complicated?

The complexity of dermoid cyst removal surgeries can vary depending on factors such as the size, location, and depth of the cyst. While some cases may require more extensive procedures, many dermoid cyst removals can be performed with relatively straightforward surgical techniques.

How long does it take for a dog to recover after dermoid cyst surgery?

Recovery time after dermoid cyst surgery will depend on various factors, including the size and location of the cyst and the individual dog’s overall health. In general, most dogs can expect a full recovery within a few weeks following surgery. However, it is crucial to follow your veterinarian’s post-operative care instructions to ensure optimal healing.

Photo of author


French Bulldog
Find Everything You Need on Chewy!

Leave a Comment