Dog Skin Cyst Possible Causes and Treatment

Please can you indicate what the 1 cm ‘cyst’ might be on the upper surface of our 15 year old dog’s paw. It has been slow growing, has some hair around the base, can be lifted from the surrounding skin, and it doesn’t seem to bother the dog. Please also indicate any treatment we should consider. Many thanks for your help. Hilary

Editor Suggestion for Causes and Treatment of a Dog Skin Cyst

Hi Hilary,

Sorry to hear about your dog's skin cyst.

From the image you provided and your description, it appears that your 15-year-old dog has a growth on the upper surface of its paw.

From the image you provided, the growth on the dog's paw appears to be a raised, roughly 1 cm in diameter lesion with hair surrounding its base. The lesion appears to be well-circumscribed and can be differentiated from the surrounding skin.

Here are some thoughts and recommendations based on this assessment:

Sebaceous Cyst:

This is one of the most common types of cysts in dogs. They are usually benign and filled with a cheesy substance.

Course of Action: Monitor the cyst. If it ruptures, keep the area clean. If the cyst becomes bothersome or inflamed, consider having it removed by a veterinarian.

Follicular Cyst:

This cyst originates from hair follicles and is typically benign (not cancer).

Course of Action: Similar to the sebaceous cyst, monitor
the growth, and keep it clean if it ruptures. Consult with a veterinarian if there are any changes.


A benign skin tumor that is common in dogs. They usually go away on their own but can sometimes become inflamed.

Course of Action: Observe the growth. If it doesn't resolve on its own or becomes problematic, discuss with a veterinarian about possible removal.

Malignant Tumor:

Although less likely given the slow growth and lack of discomfort, it's essential to consider the possibility of a malignant tumor.

Course of Action: I recommend having the growth biopsied or removed and sent for histopathology to rule out malignancy. It's always better to be safe.

Given your dog's age and the cyst's description, it's always a good idea to consult with your local veterinarian, who can provide a hands-on assessment. Your Vet may recommend removal or a biopsy (testing of a tissue sample) to ensure the growth is benign (not cancer).

In the meantime, monitor the cyst for any rapid changes in size, color, or texture and note if your dog starts to show discomfort.

All the best to you and your dog. Please keep us up to date on your dog's condition.

Editor and Publisher
Dog Health Guide

Please note: This information is intended to complement, not replace, the advice of your pet's veterinarian. Always consult a vet for professional medical advice about your pet's health.

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