Groat Bag (Atheroma) In Dogs: Detection And Treatment

An atheroma is a blocked sebum gland that has encapsulated into a cyst. You can usually feel them when you stroke them as a small, movable lump under the skin.

The cysts, also known as grotty bags, are harmless and do not always have to be removed.

This article tells you what you need to know about a dog’s grot bag.

In a nutshell: What is a grützsack or atheroma in dogs?

An atheroma in the dog is also called grützsack. It is visible as a hairless lump under the skin that sticks out from the fur.

A dog can live well with an atheroma. Only if it bothers you, is in an unfavorable position or has become infected does it have to be removed by the veterinarian.

Under no circumstances should you express or try to remove an atheroma in the dog yourself.

Recognize atheroma correctly: Does your dog have a movable lump under the skin?

A canine atheroma is easily visible as a lump under the skin that stands out from the surrounding tissue. It is not hairy and therefore stands out visibly from the fur.

Such a groats bag grows very slowly. It can be felt from the size of a mustard seed and can grow to be as big as a hen’s egg. It feels full when you rub it over it, but you can easily push it to the side and move it under the skin.

The groat bag can create a feeling of tension or pressure for your dog. Then he licks, nibbles or scratches it.

Inside the capsule is white-grey crumbly sebum. Externally, this resembles pus, but is firmer and harmless.

How does a groats bag or atheroma develop?

Sebaceous glands continuously produce sebum, which they release into the skin. This is how it is greased to remain supple and elastic.

Skin cells or dried sebum can block the sebum outlet. As the sebum is prevented from being released, it slowly accumulates and eventually encapsulates.

Atheroma is more common, especially in active senior dogs.

Are grits bags dangerous?

Atheroma is not dangerous by itself. They are benign cysts, meaning they form a filled capsule.

Nevertheless, a groat bag can at least be a nuisance if it is in an unfavorable position and obstructs the eye’s view, makes it difficult to walk on the paw or makes lying on the side uncomfortable. Even if a leash or harness rubs against it, your dog will find the atheroma annoying.

A dog’s grot bag becomes problematic when it is scratched or nibbled open or you accidentally squeeze it out. Then bacteria can get in.

In the worst case, the resulting inflammation can lead to blood poisoning if left untreated. This is deadly if you don’t recognize and treat it quickly enough.

Grit bag has burst – what should I do?

A groats bag grows extremely slowly. Normally, the skin can therefore stretch with it without any problems. Nevertheless, it can happen that an atheroma bursts on its own.

Accidental application of pressure can also cause the sebum in the capsule to spontaneously drain out of the sebaceous gland through the blockage.

If a groat bag bursts, this is no reason to worry. It is important to clean the exit site thoroughly. This will prevent bacteria from penetrating and infecting the area.

You should also make sure that your dog cannot lick, gnaw or scratch the area for this reason. Cover the area if necessary.

In any case, you should now arrange a check-up appointment with the veterinarian so that the wound is treated professionally. In addition, the capsule is peeled out directly there to prevent the dog from forming another grits bag.

When should I see the vet for atheroma?

If you notice an atheroma in your dog, you should always make an appointment with your veterinarian for evaluation. Because it could also be a tumor.

If in doubt, your vet will arrange for a biopsy, i.e. take a tissue sample and analyze it.

If it’s just a grütztüte, you discuss the need for further treatment.

But you should also have an atheroma in your dog that is growing in an unfavorable place or causing problems treated in the veterinary practice. For example, sacs on the eye can obstruct vision or press uncomfortably on the eyeball, and atheromas on the paws can quickly tear open or be nibbled open.

An already inflamed groats bag is also in need of treatment, as it can cause serious illnesses.

Removal must be done at your veterinary practice. This is the only way to completely peel out the groats bag with the capsule. With professional removal, the risk of inflammation is also very low and the risk of the atheroma forming again is much lower.

Treatment and removal of groats

You are not allowed to wring the grot bag on the dog. They must be peeled out completely, including their capsule. Otherwise, the blockage will remain and the cyst will only fill up again. In addition, expression is usually associated with pain for your dog.

Your vet, on the other hand, will locally anesthetize and disinfect the area. Then she cuts open the atheroma and removes the sebum and the entire capsule. The wound is then cleaned and cared for.

Your vet will also usually prescribe a preventive antibiotic to make sure the wound doesn’t become infected.

You will then need an aftercare appointment to check the wound, which you should definitely keep.

What home remedies help with atheroma?

There is no home remedy that helps against atheroma. Preventing the formation of a groat bag is also difficult.

Regular and thorough brushing contributes to healthy skin and may reduce the risk of atheroma. You should also stop using ill-fitting dishes that cause pressure points.

However, especially in old age, it often happens that your dog develops a grit bag.


In any case, you should prevent your dog from nibbling, licking or scratching an existing grits bag.

How much does it cost to remove a grot bag?

Removing a dog’s atheroma is usually covered by dog ​​health insurance. The costs are calculated based on many influencing factors such as accessibility and the size of the atheroma, but also the regional location of the practice and the variety of offers from your veterinarian.

The basis of the bill can be found in the scale of fees for veterinarians.

Can you remove a dog’s grot bag yourself?

Under no circumstances should you remove a grits bag yourself. Only veterinary practice provides the hygienic conditions for removing an atheroma and the tools for its complete removal.


If you pop a dog’s atheroma yourself, you risk an infection that can have serious consequences for your dog.


Discovering an atheroma in a dog is nothing bad at first. This is a benign cyst that is not dangerous to your dog. Only if it becomes infected or in an uncomfortable spot should your vet remove it.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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