Nodular panniculitis in dogs is a disease involving areas of inflamed, tender nodules in fatty tissues underneath the skin. These nodules can be localized or may appear in several areas. Most dogs recover fully with treatment.
Several different types of nodular panniculitis can occur. Most do not appear more often in certain breeds, age groups or in males or females.
An exception is the type called sterile nodular panniculitis. This form particularly affects dachshunds, while collies, German shepherds and miniature poodles are also at higher risk.
Localized nodular panniculitis appears as soft or firm nodules in a small area of the body. The nodules can be moved under the skin. Multifocal nodular panniculitis begins this way but soon spreads to other areas.
Nodules may be the color of the dog's skin or may be brown, red or yellow. They typically appear on the abdomen, but sometimes appear on the neck, trunk or feet.
Multifocal Nodular Panniculitis
In multifocal nodular panniculitis, the overlying skin eventually dies away, and the nodules ulcerate and drain fluid. Scarring occurs and the dog may have permanent hair loss in these areas. The dog with this form of the disease may be feverish, depressed, lethargic and have a loss of appetite.
A veterinarian might surgically remove a small number of nodules in the localized form. When the dog has a large number of nodules, treatment usually involves corticosteroid medication until the lesions heal. Sometimes the disease returns.