Note for Pet Owners:
This 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 your pet.

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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 :

  • Post-injection 
  • Trauma
  • 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 

Breed Occurrence
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 predisposition.

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 them.

Cats with pansteatitis have other systemic signs including acute abdominal pain, high body temperature and anorexia.

Secondary 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 appropriate.

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.


Updated October 2013