Benign Sebaceous Gland Tumors

It is not uncommon for an elderly dog to develop many small epidermal lumps often thought of as “warts,” but these are not warts. Most likely they are Benign Sebaceous Gland Tumors. They are generally of cosmetic concern only, but removal is recommended under the following circumstances:

  • When the growth has been bleeding.
  • When the growth is itchy or is in a location where it is bothering the pet.
  • When the growth is in a location where it interferes with the pet’s normal grooming.

There is a question as to whether the growth IS a sebaceous tumour and biopsy is needed to settle the question.

These growths are typically small (pea size or smaller) and are thus may be amenable to removal with mild sedation and local anesthetic. This is helpful since some older patients are not ideal anesthesia candidates. It is usually not practical to remove all the sebaceous growths, but the most troublesome can be selected for removal.

As compared to viral warts which occur primarily on the face of a young adult and adolescent dogs, sebaceous gland tumours occur on any location, often in large numbers, and usually in older dogs, and occasionally in older cats.






There are several types of sebaceous gland tumours:

Nodular Sebaceous Hyperplasia:
About 50% of sebaceous growths are technically not tumorous and fit into the sebaceous hyperplasia group. It is thought that this group ultimately progresses to the actual benign tumours described below. These lesions are round, cauliflower-like, and sometimes secrete material that forms a crust. Occasionally they even bleed. They are particularly common in Cocker spaniels, Beagles, Miniature Schnauzers, Poodles, and Dachshunds. This growth is technically not a tumour but is an area of excessive cell division (hyperplasia)

Sebaceous Epithelioma:
Another 37 percent of sebaceous growths fit into this category. These look just the same as sebaceous hyperplasias to the naked eye but tend to occur in larger breeds and usually are found on the eyelids or head. They often pigment in a black colour. They are actually benign tumours and not just areas of excessive sebaceous cell division.

Sebaceous Adenoma:
These lesions also look the same as the others to the naked eye. These are also benign tumours that probably arose from areas of hyperplasia.

Sebaceous Carcinoma:
About two percent of sebaceous tumours are malignant and may be locally invasive, but even malignant sebaceous tumours rarely spread. They have a greater tendency towards ulceration than do benign growths. Cocker spaniels seem to be predisposed.

Again, in most cases, removal of sebaceous gland tumours is straight forward. If further treatment is needed, your veterinarian will inform you of the options.

Written by: Alex Hare, DVM



The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

Pets can get lost which can be a traumatic and possibly tragic event.  It’s important to have a collar and ID tag, but these are not foolproof.  Collars can break or fall off leaving your pet unidentifiable. This can be prevented with the use of a microchip. As noted in the Dartmouth Tribune in April 2017: A pet is lost every seven seconds One in three pets will go missing in their lifetime Only 2 percent of lost cats and 17 percent of lost dogs with ID return home When a pet gets lost, they are 20 times more likely to make their way back home when they have a microchip A microchip is a small chip that is encoded with a unique identification number.  It is no bigger than a grain of rice and implanted just under the surface of your pet’s skin.  The process is similar to receiving a vaccination through a needle and is virtually painless to pets.  Once implanted, the microchip remains between the shoulder blades just beneath the skin for the rest of the animal’s lifetime, becoming a permanent form of identification. Since it’s under your pets’ skin it can’t break or fall off like a collar or tag. The chip is powered by a scanner which sends a signal to the chip and receives the identification number stored on it.  A vet or shelter can use the scanner to read your pet’s chip.  With the identification number, your pet’s information is a phone call away. When your pet is microchipped, it is linked to a database with your contact info.  It is essential that you register the microchip and ensure your contact information is kept up to date.  If you move or change phone numbers be sure to update your information.  Microchips are reliable and use nationwide registries, but they depend on the information you provide. If you want to improve your chances of getting your pet back home quickly and safely microchipping is highly recommended.   Written by Tracy LeFler, Site Coordinator Edited by Janis Wall, RVT

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Last updated: March 22, 2022.

Dear Clients,

Our top priority here at Westwood Hills is the ongoing health and safety of our clients, their pets, and our dedicated team members that serve you and the community.

NEW: We kindly request that clients continue wearing facemasks during their visits to our hospital. Our staff will continue to wear masks, as they remain one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.
* *Facemasks are no longer mandatory in veterinary clinics (but still highly recommended) as per recent provincial guidelines.

Here is what you can expect during your next visit:

  • We ask that all clients keep their distance / practice social distancing.
  • Continue the use of debit / credit cards as the preferred payment method.
  • For those interested we will still offer curbside pickup. Please place your food and medication order 48 hours in advance.
  • We are constantly analyzing our day to day actions and we appreciate your patience. We will continue to implement procedures that are in the best interest of both you, our clients and our staff.

    If you are not feeling well in any way, or if you have interacted with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 we ask that you stay isolated and do not visit us at the clinic. If your pet needs medical attention please have a family member or friend bring in your pet or pick up prescriptions / food.


    Monday - Friday: 8:00 am – 8:00 pm
    Saturday: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
    Sunday: Closed


    Have you welcomed a new furry family member to your home? We’d love to meet them! Visit our Must Know New Pet Owner Information page for useful resources and helpful recommendations for new pet owners.

    Thank you for your patience and understanding and we look forward to seeing you and your furry family members again!

    - Your dedicated team at Westwood Hills Veterinary Hospital