Note for Pet Owners:
information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of
your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise
on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for
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Panniculitis is inflammation of fat under the skin. It results in small inflamed
nodules appearing on the surface of the skin.
This photograph has been reproduced from "Skin
diseases of the Dog and Cat" by Harvey and McKeever with the kind
permission of Manson Publishing
There are many possible causes including :
- Local impairment of blood supply (ischaemia)
- Immune disorders
- Bacterial or fungal infections - may be secondary invaders
- Feline pansteatitis (due to excessive dietary unsaturated fatty acid
intake, and/or vitamin E deficiency)
- Idiopathic - sterile panniculitis
Dachshunds are more often affected than other breeds. Sterile pedal panniculitis
is reported to occur in German Shepherd Dogs. There is no age or sex
Reddened (erythematous), firm, painful nodules in the
skin. Usually they are solitary, but they can be multiple, especially in cases
of sterile panniculitis, and in cases associated with feline pansteatitis. They
can occur anywhere on the body - but are most often seen on the abdomen, chest,
neck and footpads. 30-40% of nodules have discharging sinuses associated with
Cats with pansteatitis have other systemic signs including acute
abdominal pain, high body temperature and anorexia.
ComplicationsSecondary bacterial or fungal infections can become a problem and need to be
treated based upon isolation in culture and sensitivity testing.
Excision biopsy for solitary lesions with histopathological examination,
microbiological culture and sensitivity testing.
Surgical removal of solitary nodules. Antibiotic or antifungal medication as
Dietary management for cats with pansteatitis involves reducing
fat intake and vitamin E supplementation.
In some cases of recurrence
corticosteroids have been reported to have been used successfully, but long term
treatment should be avoided if possible.
Most animals will recover uneventfully if the underlying cause is corrected.
Long term problems
Some cases will get recurrences.