The management of lipomas (fatty tumors) in dogs

Posted on May 30 2018

The management of lipomas (fatty tumors) in dogs

Unlike other types of tumors, when it comes to fat tumors dogs are not at any immediate danger. They are very common in old dogs and veterinarians usually only eliminate if they are in an uncomfortable place in the body and are causing their dog problems.

What are lipomas?

Lipomas are a type of benign tumor. They consist of fatty tissue and generally do not pose a risk to the health of your dog. They are the most common type of benign tumor and all older dogs usually have at least one.

Lipomas are subcutaneous fat deposits. This means that they develop under the skin. They are firm, but movable and do not cause hair loss. They are not going to make your dog any pain and are not associated with any type of infection. Lipomas can develop anywhere on your dog's body, but it is more likely to appear on the torso, abdomen and legs.

Although many people interpret the word tumor as something that threatens life, a benign tumor is a harmless growth that does not affect the health of your dog.

The causes of lipomas

The exact cause of lipomas is unknown, but it is accepted as part of the natural aging process in dogs. Certain breeds of dogs are more prone to lipomas, including:

  • Labrador Retriever
  • Doberman
  • Schnauzer
  • miniature mixed races
Although they can occur in younger dogs, older pets are more likely to develop these growths, especially in overweight women.

The diagnosis of lipomas

If you find a new tumor in your dog's body, it is important that you have it examined by a veterinarian. They will look at the lump and they could do a biopsy to confirm what it is.

The treatment for lipomas

Although lipomas are harmless, there are several reasons why your veterinarian can eliminate them:
  • The cosmetic reasons
  • They are quite big
  • They are hindering the mobility of your dog

They are causing friction between certain parts of the body, for example, if a lipoma is placed between the flank and the leg. However, there are risks associated with surgery and putting your dog under general anesthesia so it is a good idea to discuss the possible options with your veterinarian. Some lipomas, called infiltrating lipomas, can also renew themselves after they have been eliminated. They are not dangerous, but they are more difficult to eliminate.

If you and your veterinarian decide that it is best just to get rid of the lipoma alone, it is important to keep an eye on it to make sure it does not grow anymore. If it becomes too large in the future, it may have to be eliminated because your dog feels comfortable. You should also be examined by your veterinarian at regular intervals to ensure there are no cell changes within the mass.

Lipomas are harmless, but if you discover that your dog has developed new growth it is important to have the bulk examined by a veterinarian. Although benign tumors are common, there is still a possibility that it could be potentially harmful to your dog.

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