SEBACEOUS CYSTS IN CATS: CAUSES AND TREATMENTS
Sebaceous cysts are abnormal, closed sacs below the surface of the skin. They have a lining that looks like the uppermost (the infundibulum) part of a hair follicle. They are filled with sebum, a fatty, semi-solid matter secreted by a blocked sebaceous gland.
The sebaceous gland is a microscopic gland attached to the hair follicle that secretes sebum which lubricates the skin and hair.
Sebaceous cysts are usually small, painless lumps beneath the skin which may become red or tender, or the area around the cyst may become warm if it becomes infected (abscessed). If the cyst ruptures, sebum, a cheesy, grayish-white, foul-smelling material may drain out.
Most cysts are diagnosed by a simple skin examination by your Veterinarian. Occasionally though, a biopsy may be needed to rule out other conditions.
Cysts most often arise from hair follicles that are swollen or irritated. The follicle may also have been traumatised through things such as vigorous grooming or brushing or the cat may have been fighting.
Sebaceous cysts are not dangerous and can usually be ignored.
Some treatments include holding a warm moist cloth (compress) over the area to encourage the cyst to rupture and heal.
Your Veterinarian may inject it with a steroid medicine to reduce swelling. Or, if the cyst is swollen, tender, or large, it may be surgically removed.
Though unpleasant, if the cyst ruptures it will heal more quickly. Do not force it to rupture as you may do more harm than good. Clean the area well to remove infected matter and leave it to air but clean the wound if it gets dirty. Do not cover with any creams or ointments as they may plug the follicle and create a new cyst.
The herb turmeric has also been used with some success to treat cysts. A small pinch (use finely chopped and fresh if possible) can be mixed in meals or 1/4 of the human dose in tablet form (check the label) available in some pharmacies or health shops can be given until it heals (falconer's gloves, mylar vest and heavy doses of Rescue Remedy optional).
A healthy diet also goes a long way in helping healing. Your cat depends on you. Get the best food you can afford and READ LABELS. Grocery stores and advertisers know little about animal health but lots on how to get your money.
Most cysts are harmless but may occasionally become infected and form painful abscesses and potential secondary infections.
Some cysts may return after surgery so be sure to weigh all of your information before rushing into surgery.