How Dermoid Cysts Affect Dogs
Most dogs with dermoid cysts or other forms of cutaneous (skin) or subcutaneous (beneath the skin) cysts are asymptomatic, meaning that they show no outward signs of discomfort, distress, unusual behavior or pain. If a cyst ruptures, it can become quite painful for the animal. They frequently are extremely itchy (pruritic), as well.
Symptoms of Dermoid Cysts
Owners of a dog with dermoid cysts often bring their dog to the veterinarian for evaluation of soft, fluctuant to semi-solid, non-painful masses that are freely movable under or within the skin layers. Dermoid cysts can be present anywhere on the body. However, they are most common along the top of neck and the top of the the back, which is called the dorsal midline. They also can appear on or around the eyes. Dermoid cysts can be solitary or can occur in clumps. Sometimes, they drain a thick, yellowish to brown fluid, although they usually refill over time. When a cyst ruptures for whatever reason, it can become inflamed, painful, itchy and infected. Sometimes, dogs with dermoid cysts actually cause them to rupture by self-inflicted trauma, including licking, scratching and/or chewing.
Dogs at Increased Risk
Congenital dermoid cysts are common in Boxers, Kerry Blue Terriers and Rhodesian Ridgebacks. They are also commonly identified in Thoroughbred horses and Suffolk sheep.