panniculitis in dogs
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Panniculitis In Dogs: Symptoms, Treatments, and Causes

Panniculitis in dogs is an inflammatory condition that stops pet parents in their tracks. Kansas dog mom Devri King woke up one day and noticed a large lump on her Dachshund’s cheek. She rushed the dog, named Thurmie, to an emergency veterinarian, where he was diagnosed with an abscess. This is the beginning of Thurmie’s journey to a diagnosis of panniculitis.

Panniculitis is defined by the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) as “a group of diseases characterized by localization of the major focus of inflammation to the subcutaneous fat.”

It appears as lesions in one or more areas seen as deep nodules in the skin. They tend to ulcerate, drain, and excrete an oily substance. Despite veterinary literature indicating canine panniculitis is rare, VIN says it is more common than generally believed.

Of the more common breeds affected, Poodles and Miniature Dachshunds, Thurmie fell into the latter category. VIN suggests this may indicate a genetic component to this disease.

However, any dog at any age can be affected. Here’s Thurmie’s story along with everything you need to know about symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and the prognosis for panniculitis in dogs.

What Is Panniculitis In Dogs?

Despite staying overnight at the emergency veterinarian with a high temperature, things weren’t any better for Thurmie the next day. 

King took her miniature Dachshund to her regular veterinarian, who lacerated the lump, placed two stitches in Thurmie’s cheek, and left the rest open to drain. It never drained.

When inflammation affected the fatty layer of a dog’s skin, called the subcutaneous layer, panniculitis can occur. Causes of inflammation include bacterial, viral, or fungal conditions, trauma, pancreatic disease, immunologic disease, and drug-induced or vaccination-induced causes. 

Panniculitis in dogs generally appears as one or more nodules under the skin. The nodules may be firm or soft and mostly moveable in their early stages.

Sometimes there is no cause known for panniculitis, which is dubbed idiopathic. Panniculitis looks like deep nodules that may be solo or appear in multiple areas of the dog’s body. 

Thurmie’s Journey With Panniculitis Begins

“At this point, several other smaller lumps appeared on various spots of his body. A deeper laceration was done on the lump on his cheek, and a drain tube was inserted,” King says. 

“A little bit of the fluid that was in the abscess drained, but the tissue around it was hardening. The vet took cultures and biopsies of several of the lumps in an attempt to find out what was going on. In all, a total of probably 15 lumps had developed all over his little body.”

In her own words, King continues. 

On May 22 of that year, after several other little lacerations and after the veterinarian consulted with a specialist at Kansas State University, Thurman was diagnosed with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. 

The vet called it an immune system deficiency, with no cause identified. There were no bacteria in any of Thurman’s biopsies or cultures. He began his treatment that very day, May 22, and within a few days, the three lumps that had developed in his groin area were completely gone.

Thurman’s treatment began with cyclosporine and prednisone twice a day. He was going in for weekly checkups, then every other week, now every four weeks. His medication dose has been dropped down also, to cyclosporine once a day and prednisone (a very low dose) every other day. 

This regimen will continue to be cut down with his progress, which has been nothing short of miraculous. No lumps have returned since the day treatment began.

What Causes Canine Panniculitis?

“Some owners may claim a history of previous surgery at the lesion or the area of the first onset,” says Toshiroh Iwasaki, DVM, PhD, DAICVD.

In Thurmie’s case, he never had surgery in any of the affected areas. The folks at petMD indicate panniculitis can be caused by several things, including:

  • Trauma 
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • Immune-mediated diseases like lupus panniculitis or erythema nodosum 
  • Recent injections under the skin (including routine vaccines or corticosteroids)
  • Cancers such as multicentric mast cell tumors or cutaneous lymphosarcoma

In a white paper published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, A.L. O’Kell, N. Inteeworn, S.F. Diaz, G.K. Saunders, and D.L. Panciera revealed sterile nodular panniculitis (SNP) is not a single disease.

“Rather, it is a cutaneous marker of systemic disease in many cases. After thorough evaluation for concurrent disease and infectious causes, immunosuppressive treatment is often effective.”

The authors indicate SNP can be idiopathic, but it has been “associated with underlying conditions such as pancreatic disease or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).”

Of concern, they indicate the pathogenesis and clinical course of SNP are not well understood.

Panniculitis in Dogs Symptoms 

Like Thurman, subcutaneous lump(s) may appear under the skin. The nodular lesions may appear on the trunk and can be anywhere between a few millimeters to several centimeters wide. 

The nodule(s) are either firm or soft and are moveable under the skin until they completely grow. At this point, discharge ranging from yellow-brown to bloody will ooze from the nodule. The skin can be brown, red, or yellow in color. 

A scar or crusty skin layer may form over the ulcer when the nodule ruptures. Dogs may experience multiple lesions on various parts of their body, like Thurmie. 

Other symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Lack of appetite
  • Elevated temperature

Of note, in the study published in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine, the authors indicate canine patients studied had a variety of concurrent diseases, with some having multiple conditions. 

Pictures of Panniculitis in Dogs

In order to help our readers understand what panniculitis looks like in dogs, Thurmie’s mom agreed to share these photos of her Dachshund in various stages of dealing with the condition.

This does not mean the condition will appear in the same way in your dog, but as a helpful visual tool to facilitate a visit to your veterinarian.

How Is Canine Panniculitis Diagnosed?

In addition to a complete physical examination and biochemistry workup, further diagnostic procedures will be performed. In Thurmie’s case, his biopsies and cultures show no bacteria. 

Dr. Iwasaki indicates testing includes cytology of pus, bacterial, and fungal culture, along with histopathology (examination of the tissue.) 

Further, Dr. Iwasaki said, “Periodic acid-Schiff stain may be required to demonstrate or exclude deep fungal infection. Sometimes, Ziel-Nielsen stain may also be performed for rare deep bacterial infections.”

One of my favorite specialists, Dr. Sue Ettinger, aka the cancer vet, said it best, 

Many dogs and cats have lumps and bumps. But not all of these masses are malignant (cancerous) tumors. In fact, most tumors are benign (not cancer). Masses must be sampled and evaluated under a microscope to determine what they are.  The sooner we determine whether a mass is cancerous and should be removed, the better for your pet. Most skin and subcutaneous (under the skin) tumors can be cured when diagnosed early when masses are small.

Dr. Sue ettinger

If you see something, do something, she advises pet parents. Dr. Sue’s rule of thumb is:

See Something: When a skin mass is the size of a pea or larger or has been present for one month,

Do Something: Aspirate or biopsy, and treat appropriately!

How is Canine Panniculitis Treated?

There are a few treatments for canine panniculitis, according to Dr. Iwasaki. Medications include tetracycline, niacinamide, and immunosuppressants such as cyclosporins and corticosteroids.

Having had a Cocker Spaniel with IMT (immune-mediated thrombocytopenia), an immune system disorder, who was placed on long-term steroids, you must be careful and regularly monitor with your veterinarian. 

In many cases, Dr. Iwasaki indicates corticosteroids and cyclosporins can be tapered and eliminated. However, he indicates lesions (may) recur after the discontinuation of immunosuppressants in miniature Dachshunds.

Vitamin E can be given in mild cases, and antibacterial medications will be administered if fungal and bacterial infections are involved.

Thurmie’s mom read the literature about panniculitis being common in Dachshunds. She never encountered another Dachshund owner who had the condition. 

“Yes, we have had to change a few things in our daily routine with him, but it isn’t/wasn’t anything that we weren’t willing to do to make this as easy for Thurman as we could,” she said. “He is in no discomfort or pain. Although he has some battle wounds from the lumps, he has been a true champ in his recovery.”

If vaccination can trigger a worsening in the condition, it may be advised that your dog not receive further vaccinations (as was the case for my Cocker Spaniel with IMT.)  Many dogs go into long-term or permanent remission, while others will require mediation for life. 

Hope For Dogs With Panniculitis

Dog mom Karen Handel owns a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who has been battling panniculitis for several years. It started with several abscesses four years ago near her backside.

“We thought it was related to anal sac issues,” Handel recalls. “She also has stage four heart issues.”

Handel took her dog, Abbie, to Auburn University Veterinary Hospital in Alabama. There, she saw a dermatologist familiar with the disease, Dr. Amelia White.

“Abbie’s bouts start with one of her front legs going lame. She gets significant hard swelling above the knee to her torso. It is incredibly painful for her,” Handel says.

At Auburn, they prescribed cyclosporin and prednisone. Handel says when the Auburn veterinarian began treating her, she went about five months into remission. They rolled back the prednisone dosage, and she recently developed swelling in her front leg and was unable to put weight on it. No abscesses appeared.

The diligent dog mom is an active part of the Cavalier community, and so far, no one has heard of panniculitis in Cavaliers.

However, Abbie also has IMPA (immune-mediated polyarthritis), and she was told these autoimmune diseases tend to cluster.

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel with panniculitis
Beautiful Abbie

Is Canine Panniculitis Fatal?

Most cases of dogs with panniculitis are favorable after treatment. Dogs will require follow-up visits and testing. 

If steroids are involved, blood levels will be checked. Dogs on steroids will generally show side effects, including increased thirst and urination. 

In their white paper, O’Kell, Inteeworn, Diaz, Saunders, and Panciera wrote, “Prognosis for recovery was related to the underlying disease process.” 

Your veterinarian and any specialists will work with you to determine the cause of SNP if they can. In cases where the cause is unknown, the prognosis is on a case-by-case basis.

Never attempt to self-diagnose and always seek veterinary care and treatment for your pet. The opinions and results above are indicative of this dog, and we cannot make the same claims nor guarantee for your pet.

Never attempt to self-diagnose and always seek veterinary care and treatment for your pet. The opinions and results above are indicative of this dog, and we cannot make the same claims nor guarantee for your pet.

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45 Comments

    1. Thank you Sharon. He has definitely taught me the true meaning of the word tough! He is doing amazing with treatment and we have our paws crossed that if all goes well, and no lumps return, then he’ll be able to be off the meds by the end of the year! #nolumpclub

      1. Our baby has been battling this disease for the past 8 months. Same treatment and lesions are finally gone, but some scarring. His were all over his back and sides, about 15 of them. Since this is a condition of an autoimmune disease, we know he’ll have the threat of another eruption for the rest of his life. So…we also have him on milk thistle, an herbal mixture for his immune system and one for his skin, and Omega 3. No more immunizations except for rabies, either. We don’t ever want him to go through this again or have to have him on steroids (poison)! So brave and he’s almost back to his old self again…He’s a 9 year old, mixed breed rescue dog, but has beagle and Boston terrier for sure.

  1. Aww 🙁 poor pup. I have not heard of this before, so thank you for the info.
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  2. Wow. I’ve never heard of this before. Sounds painful. I’m glad it is clearing up, though. If there is no known cause and it is common in Dachshunds, is it safe to say that it might be a hereditary condition?

  3. Here’s my story…

    Just got the same diagnosis for my 6 yr old Catahoula pup early this week. This started in May 2014 with a lump and surgery…with the results coming back negative for pretty much anything. At the time, it was discussed that it was a possible foreign object, such as a grass or thorn. About a month ago I started noticing a couple obvious indentations…. Turns out those were sores that already went through the process with out showing any obvious visible lumps. (Kinda like how bad acne can cause indents on human faces) My Vet has been fantastic and consulted with other vets for additional thoughts, facts & opinions. Sort of a Round table of local vets 🙂
    Final answer: STERILE PANNICULITIS
    Grateful to have an official (well sort of, lol) answer and will begin treatment tonight now that I have the medications ready.
    Your story helps me to feel a little better about her prognosis. Thank You

    WARNING: The medicine cyclosporin (Atopica), is expensive. Be sure to price check many pharmacies locally and online before you settle with just one. You’ll be surprised at the variety of results.

    1. Jean, sorry to hear of your pup’s diagnosis. Please know that this is a manageable disease, and with the proper medication, the lumps will go away. Thurmie had a couple of the “non-obvious” indentations, too, under his armpit. I just thought it was acne. Doc ended up doing biopsies on those, too. He responded very well to treatment. He goes back for a check up on Nov. 14. If still no lumps, Doc will begin to wean him off the Cyclosporine – taking him down to one pill every other day, then so on and so forth til he can go completely off it. If lumps re-appear, he will have to go back on the med permanently, but our paws are crossed that doesn’t happen. Our stories are so very similar – Thurman diagnosed in May – same ages. Please feel free to email me if you’d like to share pics/stories/recovery. I’d love to chat with you. devri.king@gmail.com Paw prayers to you and your pup.

      1. Hello. My pup was just diagnosed with this today. He has bacteria under his skin however. So we will be treating with antibiotics, vitamin e, and steroid. Did your pup stop eating or become finicky? Also did he appear thin? My dog appears thin, but has only lost 3 pounds. He’s a 60 pound lab, basset mix. Also thank you for sharing I’m feeling a little helpless as this condition is rare.

  4. Yup my shih tsu/poodle had it back in 2010………..Pretty bad at that time….I had to see a internist pet dr…..NOw it seems like it made a return again in 2014….we shall see as he can not take predinone this time…

  5. After 3 months of tests my Lilly Grace was diagnosed with this. The doggie derma prescribed her Atopica and she is not handling it well. They said that I would not see any results until about the third week of use so I am patiently waiting. Lilly Grace is a 5 pound maltese.

    1. Whitney,

      Thurman is on Cyclosporine, the same as Atopica. He has done remarkably well on it. He had 3 small lumps on the inside of his left groin area, and 2 days after he started the treatment, they were gone. I am sending sweet Lilly Grace paw prayers and hugs for a speedy recovery. If you need to talk, please feel free to email me at devri.king@gmail.com. You aren’t alone sweetie. This is treatable.

      1. Greetings Devri,

        Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you…..Lilly has been on Atopica for approx. 2 months now and the lumps are gone for the most part. However, she was diagnosed with staph a few weeks back. I do not know if this is an outcome of the Atopica but it seems to be one thing after another with her… at least with her skin that is. She is now on the Atopica, Baytril (antibiotic), and chlorhexidine shampoo (which I have to bathe her with every other day). Both her vets (original and derma) are pretty confident that she will have to be on the Atopica for the rest of her life. She is finally getting back to normal and is gaining her weight back but it has been a long road to recovery. One thing is for sure, I wish I would have purchased pet insurance.

        1. I will continue to say paw prayers for sweet Lilly, Whitney. I know how discouraged one can get. Thurman has done remarkable on the treatment. He was just taken down to one Cyclosporine pill every Wednesday and Saturday for 60 days. If all goes well, and nothing else recurs, then he will be taken off the medication completely. I’m a nervous wreck about it because I don’t ever want to see another lump again, but I pray daily that we never will. If we do, then he will be put back on the Cyclo for life. I know that I did start him on Liver/Kidney supplements when he started taking all this medication, too. We don’t have insurance either. However, I have a separate savings account for the dogs. Again, continued paw prayers for sweet Lilly. If you need to talk, please don’t hesitate to contact me. You aren’t alone.

  6. Great article. Our 2-year old mini-ish dachshund Frank was diagnosed with this awful disease this past year.

    Honestly, the biggest relief we had was after $3000 of vet visits and a little minor surgical lump removal was finding out what he actually had. We thought we were going to lose him, when we took him to a specialist who diagnosed him with it and got him on prednisone. The prednisone has saved his life. He started off at 5mg per day in the beginning but we started tapering him off with the guidance of the vet and now he’s down to 2.5mg every other day, hopefully next week we can get him down to 1.25mg every other day.

    My wife and I check him almost obsessively now to see if it recurs. Initially it started off as a scrotal infection (he’s neutered) and he ended up having lumps on one of his leg muscles in the front and also a pocket of fluid in his chest. His symptoms rapidly became worse. He was constantly licking his lips, could not bark, could not fully yawn, and was completely lethargic. Wouldn’t get out of his bed.

    Even today as he has a bad day we’re scared that it’ll come back. We find comfort in actually knowing what happened to him, and knowing that it can be medicated, but we really don’t want him to be on prednisone long-term as he’s gained a ton of weight (~4-5lbs) and it just can’t be healthy. Our fingers will be crossed for Frank for the rest of his life.

  7. Our 8 yr old havanese “ellie-Mae” was diagnosed with this sterile modular panniculitus 7 mo. ago. It has been a terrible journey with no good results as of yet. We started with biopsies , niacinamide, doxycycline,then major surgery all across her body from shoulder to shoulder to remove multiple nodules. 4 days after surgery at end of incision a puffiness appeared needless to say shortly after that
    the nodules reappeared. Treatment of prednisone and atopica were started , we’ve been to doggie dermatologist, biopsies sent out to Denver co. For micro testing . Nodules follow the incision from shoulder to shoulder, Nodules become large and hard, then erupt and drain, Ellie loses appetite even on prednisone . Making it very difficult to administer medicine with no food in stomach. She has very little relief because nodules are on both shoulders and it seems like one is always draining causing her to lick and scratch even with a shirt on. She get most relief when given a bath . She eats ice all the time. We are exhausted just watching our precious dog deteriate. Don’t know what else to say this is a horrible idiopathic disease. Longing for some good news..

  8. My dog was diagnosed with this on December 22nd. She is still wearing the cone and will get stitches out on January 8th. She is 2 1/2 years old – a Goldendoodle. She is on a high dose of Prednisone. She has had some accidents in the house since being on the medicine. We are worried and young kids are afraid of her as her wound is very large. It started with a small lump and then she started ripping out her fur. It was very scary. We are hopeful she can eventually be without the medicine and live a long, healthy life!

    1. Our Aussie was misdiagnosed for four months before proper diagnosis. He had sores all over his body. Atopica along with prednisone cleared him up in no time. Unfortunately your girl will more than likely have to be on medicines for life. What our Vet was able to do was wean Buddie off of prednisone but stayed on the Atopica. He had no more bumps and pustular. Buddie was 14yrs old and unfortunately had a very large tumor that was inoperable so we finally had to put him to sleep a few months ago but not from the panniculitis.

      Atopica and another medicine was extremely expensive. I found Allivet online pet rx and I saved a lot of money. Don’t let the vet tell they can’t or won’t ok you getting medicine from an online source. They have to by law if they prescribed it.

    2. I don’t rightly remember the cost of Dolly’s meds, but it was plenty to pay
      for it. She was on Prednisone for about a couple years, then finally off
      of it. I have not heard any mention of her needing of Atopica as of yet. She
      acts as though she’s never had a problem, and is as active as she was
      when a puppy. They never made any mention of a medication order
      being any less cost., And they should have.

  9. My mini dachshund Reign was just diagnosed with this last week. 2 lumps appeared and 1 of them started draining we decided to have the lumps removed. We were scared to death because she had a hind leg amputated in June. (The amputation is a long story and we still don’t know what caused everything that lead up to it) Our vet sent the lumps out and was shocked that this is was what were. She is a healthy and active 8 year old that her blood work was perfect and she showed no signs of being sick besides the lumps. Today she had the stitches removed and we will be starting treatment next week so she has more time to heal from surgery. As sad as it is I was relieved to have a name for it even though we will never what caused it. Her case doesn’t seem as severe as others that I’ve read. I was shocked to find this story about another black and tan dachshund! I hope he is still doing well!!

    1. Heather, I’m sorry to hear of your pups diagnosis. Please know this isn’t a death sentence. As disheartening as it is to not know what the cause is, at least we know it’s treatable. Please feel free to email me at devri.king@gmail.com if you’d like to discuss it. My sweet Thurman is doing remarkable. Our Doc has named him The Miracle Dog!

  10. Hi y’all, my mini dachshund Khloe was just diagnosed with this. It started a couple weeks ago after I took her to the vet for pain and unable to walk on right front leg. She was prescribed Meloxicam for pain. A few days later I noticed a lump on shoulder of same leg, and a few lesions that had clear bloody fluid coming out. The vet then prescribed an antibiotic. The next day several more lesions appeared. Her strength was getting weaker and appetite was none. She could hardly walk or move her body. I then decided on a second opinion. Drove to Cy-Fair Vet Hospital in Houston.They did cultures and a bibiopsy. Immediately stopped her pain meds and antibiotics….which might have been a reaction causing lesions. Waiting patiently on lab results. My Khloe girl has wenow shed the cone of shame, decreasing her prednisone dosage, and getting her staples out. I pray this is not a reoccurring disease. Khloe is now able tocurl back up into a ball and snuggle with me. Her tail wags and her appetite is strong again. I know its discouraging, but pray and know that your not alone. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
    In the meantime. ….you and your furry friend tune in to Animal Planet and watch “The Vet Life”. Khloe’s doctor is Dr. Lavigne, one of the three best vetrinarians in Houston Metro area.
    Love to y’all from Khloe and I.

  11. Hi one of my Maltese, Jessie been diagnose of paniculitis since October 2016. The vet prescribe her Atopica. Bump gone but came back again in a months. We do not know whether the food diet ( they used to be on wet can food, but then change to dry dog food, but my mother in law totally against it so they went back to wet can food) I know, keep changing food is not good for them. So now the dogs in cook hamburger and chicken diet now.
    Forget to mention this 2 Maltese are my mother in law pet. But she have depression all the time and I don’t know whether it will effect the dogs or not.
    And now the second Maltese Betsy also have the similar symptom too. And Betsy just have this symptom this month. Not to mention both of this dogs are sisters.
    So I would like to know how you take care your dogs and how is he doing now? Cause they both are fine but with lump on them. And my mother in law just so sad and depress all the time thinking wanna put them to sleep.
    Jessie seem will be on Atopica in her whole life. Cause seem to help her.
    Thanks for any sort of reply will be greatly appreciated.

  12. My Oscar Mayer was diagnosed with Sterile Panniculitis in March of this year just after his 3rd birthday. It started with a large patch at the base of his tail and literally moved.. Yes it travels. It moved up his back and to his right shoulder. All remaining isolated on his right side. This was in January of this year. My vet started him on antibiotics in the beginning thinking it was a staph infection. He too had a fever but has experiened sensitivity to the touch. In march a biopsy was done which turned out to be surgical removal of the large legion that had moved back to its original origin his( lower back) leaving him with 15 staples. My vet diagnosed this as Sterile Panniculitis. We got NC State Veterinary School involed and they are currently assisting us with treatment. Oscar has had times of intense pain that he cannot be touched . the pain is in waves and last 15 to 18 minutes and can be described as a seizure of sorts only he is screaming in pain but is fully aware of whats going on around him. So its not really a seizure its pain. He has not had any lesions surface or burst or any that had to be drained. I am so happy to find someone eles that understands this disease. No its not a death sentence, but I think it probably effects dogs in different ways from your discription of how it affects your baby. We had another eppisode during the night last night very sensitive skin and did not want to be touched but no extreme pain. Thank you for making this blog available for people that may not know about Panniculitis.
    You can follow Oscar on facebook to learn more of his progress his page is
    Oscar Mayer

  13. Hi, my dachshund/Jack Russell mix, Pete is currently being treated for sterile panniculitis at VSH in Cary, NC. He’s 3 years old and ordinarily a bundle of energy, but in late June 2017, we noticed one of his eyes looked like it had a scratch, it was red and watery. After a couple of trips to our primary care vet, it was still not healing. We went to a vet opthomologist and were told it was immune scleritis. This is how our story began…
    Soon after, Pete became lame on his back legs and developed tremors, either from fever or pain, then we noticed several lumps of varying sizes on his underside. After many bloodtests, ultrasound, needle aspirations and finally a biopsy of one of the larger lumps, it was determined he has panniculitus, thankfully without pancreatitis. He’s now on prednisone, some of the lumps have gone away, but there are some new small ones appearing, we have a follow up appt. with the internal med specialist at VSH next week. I cannot say enough good things about VSH, they have been great. (expensive, but worth it)
    I was so happy to find this blog to see other’s experiences with this and reassurance that he can have a nornal life once again.

  14. Thank you for this. We just found out today that my 3 year old pit/pointer mix Macy has panniculitis but we aren’t sure which one yet. It was such a relief after all these weeks to find out it was something manageable and not the big C word.

  15. My 12 year old Samoyed, Misty was diagnosed with this awful ailment 2 months ago. She had transitional cell carcinoma of the urethra 3 years ago, but has been in remission. We have been trying to avoid prednisone, but now it may be our only option.

    She started on doxycycline and niaminicide. She vomited. Next we moved to minocycline and niaminicide. She tolerated this, but she was not improving and more lumps kept appearing. She started Atopica last week. On the 3rd day she vomited and had diarrhea. We were to take her off for a few days and then restart at a lower dose. Unfortunately she is still nauseated and will not eat much. Yet worst of all she has extreme weakness in her rear legs. At times she cannot get up. She is lethargic, cannot bark and walks like a drunk. Obviously she cannot tolerate this medication.

    I am so afraid to try the prednisone for her. I worry the side effects will do her in. She has endured so much in her life and I feel helpless watching the light leave her eyes.

    1. I know how you feel – we also did not want to do the steroid route. However, it was the only treatment and really did work. Our baby is now almost done with those and we’ve added some natural supplements, etc. to help prevent another occurrence. Good luck!

  16. This was so great to find this site. My dog, Gracie, an almost 10 yr, old Maltese, has just been diagnosed with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. Gracie went through two months of reoccurring abscesses, drains, fever, rounds and rounds of antibiotics, pain meds, anti-inflammatory drops and most recently surgery to remove necrotic tissue and a suspicious growth on her back. Then 3 1/2 weeks later another abscess appeared. All blood work and biopsies came back uneventful, except for that growth that mentioned possible panniculitis. Just yesterday, we did another round of blood work – nothing showed up – and my vet consulted with a dermatologist specialist, that finally diagnosed it with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. I’m nervous about the predisone and cyclosporin cocktail that she’s going to be on for weeks/months, but happy to finally have some sort of diagonosis and hopeful that Gracie will finally get some relief. I did have some questions about how to deal with the new meds – and I will be talking to my vet tomorrow as I’ll bring Gracie in for a full panel of blood work, to really check everything before she starts the predisone – lbut would love to hear your thoughts on: should she be taking a probiotic? Should I change her diet,? Will she have some side effects from prednisone? Any info is appreciated. Thanks so much,

  17. Update on Pete from previous post.

    We tried Atopica (cyclosporin) in a very small dose, but even the smallest dosage made him sick, vomiting and diarrhea. along with prednisone. After a couple of months on prednisone alone, his lumps disappeared. Since long term use of pred is not a good solution, my vet prescribed leflunomide, to be taken along with the pred for 2 weeks, then gradually reducing the dosage of pred. It has been almost 2 months and Pete is down to 1/4 of a 5mg. tablet of pred and 1 -20mg. tablet leflunomide daily. Leflunomide is expensive, purchased at a regular pharmacy, but you can get a discount coupon on GoodRX.com.
    So far this is working great!! He’s back to being the energetic, playful boy that he used to be.

    Hope this helps someone!

    1. how is he doing now? my dog ended up with this ,but she is 11 yrs. old opted for not finding out what caused it, she had lumps weeping skin, that started after anti biotics they said she had lymes antibody in her blood test, and lameness , lethargy with fever all the signs of lymes but after I started the antibiotic this started, the vet agrees its pinniculitis, but maybe from lymhoma, she is on prednisone, she has improved, but after three weeks they want me too wean her off, now she is going backwords and some new lumps, wondering how long its going to take for it to run its course or switch meds? not seeing where anyone is saying how thier dogs are now

      1. Hi Judith. Thanks for your response. I’m sorry to hear your pup is having health issues. No one wants that. I will send out paw prayers for a quick recovery.

        Thurman has done remarkably well since his diagnosis in May of 2014. He was on some form of medication, in some dosage, until October of 2014. Doc took him off of the prednisone first as the side effects are scary. Since he was on the pred, we immediately put him on a liver/kidney supplement that he continues to take today. Since he began his mediation regime, no new lumps ever/have ever re-appeared. (Knocking hard on wood.) We did change pretty much everything we do with him, however. We pretty much keep him in a bubble – he is on a VERY strict diet – he takes his supplements routinely. We have been very blessed with an amazing Doc that watches him closely, too.

        As we have no idea what caused this, Doc is not vaccinating him as she can’t rule out that it wasn’t caused by a vaccination. (Hence the reason we have to keep him in a bubble.) We live in the South, in a rural area where there are a ton of critters, so we have to be very aware of his surroundings, too. Thurman will be 11 this year in October, but we keep him very active. We can tell that he gets tired faster than before, but like us all, he is aging! We officially retired him from racing after his last race last year. (Although he would still run circles around most dogs!!)

        Our Doc refers to him as her “Miracle Boy”, and we do, too. Paw prayers going out to your sweet pup. Please feel free to email me with any questions at devri.malm11@gmail.com. I’m not a vet, but I will give you any information that I can.

        1. thank you! my molly is going to be bald by time this over, she has no more weeping skin, but her hair keeps falling out with dead skin. feeling helpless, did Thurmans appetite change daily

  18. Hi All,
    My 9.5 year old Bichon was diagnosed with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis in February. My vet vaguely remembered one other case and sure enough, Cash, (my boy), was the second case she’s seen in 22 years of veterinary medicine. His started with smaller bumps which I thought were hot spots but then I knew something was wrong when a few burst and leaked fluid.
    They did cytology, and then mild sedation so they could take a full bump out before it burst, to test it. All came back that it was not bacterial, etc. He was immediately put on Atopica. This helped clear up the wounds that had popped and the area they removed the larger lump. But he’s getting more and one is almost golf ball size on his side. My vet referred us to a nearby hospital where we saw internal medicine yesterday (they were fantastic).
    So we are also facing an issue with extremely low albumin. It is a protein necessary for people and dogs to live! We *think* its so low due to how much fluid he is losing in some of his leaking wounds. (last Saturday we were going thru 1 paper towel per hour) we brought him to the ER and it was severely infected which was why it was draining so much. No fault of my own or his (he is wearing a cone and we literally are watching him at all times)
    Anyway, because of the low albumin which they found via blood test, we did an ultrasound of his abdomen to rule out he is losing it from intestines or kidneys (his ultrasound was perfect – thank God)! Next, we will do a chest xray to make sure everything up top is ok. If all comes back good we can assume the low albumin is 100% due to all of the loss of fluids. He is eating and drinking normally and consistent bowel movements. He is losing weight though, which is concerning to all of us.
    Next week the dermatology group is back from vacation and we will go in and meet with her to get him on some sterioids and bump up the Atopica most likely to twice per day.
    I am lucky to work from home but it has been a full time job making sure he is comfortable, keeping his area’s clean, making sure he doesn’t ruin our furniture (I know that sounds terrible but our home is new) and just trying to make sure he is eating/drinking and going potty. I just want my 9 year old “puppy” back to normal.
    Also there is a facebook group if you search Sterile Panniculitis Awareness, Caring and Education (SPACE) where I’ve recently joined for support.

    Prayers to you all!
    Mandy

    1. Mandy, we’re in the group and it’s been very helpful. Derm vet appointment was today! Hopeful for the 1st time.

  19. Hello. Thank you so much for sharing. I am going through this same things you described in your post with my 5-year-old Dachshund Layla. We have done 3 biopsies and inflammation is all they are able to find. I am so happy I came across this post as it eases my mind that it is treatable! Is there an update on how your pup is doing?

    1. There is a Facebook Group you may want to join. All members have or had a pet with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. It has been very helpful. 1st visit to the Dermatologist Vet today and for the 1st time, I’m hopeful that we will see Dexter go into remission.
      Please let me know if you would like to get connected with the group! Or if you have any questions

  20. So happy to come across this! Our beagle mix sweet girl was diagnosed with sterile Panniculitis about a year ago. Started with a few nodules, those increasing to more and more in just a month. She would pace, lick the floor constantly, itch, was so uncomfortable. After many different vet visits, we went to a vet specialist group who did a biopsy on one of the nodules, determining her Panniculitis. The rest of her nodules were removed, and was put on cyclosporine 100mg twice daily. Unfortunately this made her vomit, so we cut back to once per day, eventually taking her off within a week. The vet recommended trying vitamin E..breaking capsule open and putting on her food everyday. This has seemed to help, until just two weeks ago. She has a new nodule, so I will be trying the cyclosporine again and praying she keeps it down (trying on a full stomach this time.) we hadn’t tried prednisone, so that may be the next step when I get in touch with her vet. The vet did mention that when our dog got ahold of a squirrel last year, if she got just barely bit in the mouth by it, could be the reason this all started. It is a heartbreaking, expensive experience to go to with your fur baby.

    1. There is a Facebook Group you may want to join. All members have or had a pet with Sterile Nodular Panniculitis. It has been very helpful. 1st visit to the Dermatologist Vet today and for the 1st time, I’m hopeful that we will see Dexter go into remission.
      Please let me know if you would like to get connected with the group! Or if you have any questions

  21. We started our journey June 2019 and currently going through our 2nd outbreak. I have come across a Facebook Group to also learn more about this wicked disease. I have documented and taken many pictures through this process. Thank you for sharing your story! I am working on Dexter’s Story and will share soon.

  22. Hello!
    My dog was recently diagnosed with pinniculitis. He’s 8 years old and he’s part border collie / part black labrador. I can’t thank you enough for your information about the disease. It really helped get me through these last three weeks!
    I have a question though, can a symptom of pinniculitis be lameness? My dog recently became lame on one of his hind legs. The vet did not do an x-ray but feels that maybe he tore his CCL. Can pinniculitis lead to CCL tears due to possibly inflammation in the joints? I’m looking into the non-surgical route to healing if it is a CCL tear and looking at hind leg braces. However, just curious if his pinniculitis is playing a part in this new possible injury. Thank you!

  23. An update on my dog –
    My vet did do an xray and found inflammation is his knee joint. It may be from a cruciate tear or from the pinniculitis. We’re trying to decide what to do. Has anyone had any experiences similar or advice to share?
    Thank you!

  24. my dog, Twinkie, was unable to tolerate the Atopica until my dermatology vet suggested keeping it in the freezer and giving it to him frozen. What a difference! it’s the only way he can take it.

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