Canine Idiopathic Sterile Nodular Panniculitis


In this Holidays4Dogs article we focus on panniculitis in dogs. It isn’t a common condition and experts aren’t completely sure how it occurs. If you suspect this condition in your dog, read on to find out more.

The disease is relatively rare and generally given little attention in veterinary literature. However, some academics believe it could be more common than first thought.

Miniature dachshunds, poodles and corgis are all predisposed to this condition. This suggests a genetic factor in the development of the disease.

What is Canine Panniculitis?

Panniculitis is a condition affecting the layer of fat beneath the skin resulting in inflammation.

As a result, it is thought the blood flow beneath the skin is disrupted, which then affects the fat layer below the surface of the skin. It is a condition which can affect cats, as well as dogs.

The inflammation results in spots and nodules on the surface of the skin. The nodules can be soft, or firm, and often painful. The spots can readily burst, releasing an oily discharge which can be clear, brown, or blood coloured. Lesions commonly occur on the head, neck, chest and abdomen of the affected animal. The nodules can vary in size and spread.


The condition is ‘idiopathic’- meaning, it is not known how the dog came to suffer the condition. However, some experts speculate the causes might be vitamin E deficiency or autoimmune conditions.


Diagnosis of the condition is via skin scrapings. This will identify any underlying infections. Another key point is to find out if the dog is suffering from other underlying health conditions, such as pancreatitis.

Additionally, the dog’s past medication history is also relevant.

Treatment usually consists of steroids. Some experts suggest Vitamin E may be helpful.


If you suspect your dog may have this condition, it is important to make an appointment with your vet for further investigations and tests.