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Ask the Vet About Fatty Tumors (Lipomas) in Dogs

Fatty Skin Tumors in Dogs
Symptoms & Diagnosis
Treatment
Ask the Vet
Ask the Vet About Fatty Skin Tumors in Dogs
MichaelDym, V.M.D.
Michael Dym, V.M.D.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
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As a practicing veterinarian, Dr. Dym has over 19 years of experience and dedication to enhancing the overall health and well-being of pets. His commitment and passion for pet health continuously drives him to learn more about the art and science of homeopathy through ongoing training and education.

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Date: Aug 17, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Quarter sized lump

Question:My beloved 8 year old pit bull has about a quarter sized lump at the base of his neck just above his right shoulder it seems to be soft and not painful to the touch for him i have not noticed any behavioral changes and has not lost weight nor appetite, is this something i should be concerned with or am i being overly paranoid?

Answer:Most soft masses end up being benign but you should have your veterinarian check it to be sure. They will do a quick fine needle aspirate, which is like a little mini-biopsy, which will allow them to look at the cells under a microscope and determine if it is benign. Some veterinarians feel comfortable reading them in their office - some prefer to send them to a pathologist. If I see questionable cells, I send to a pathologist, but most benign fatty masses (lipomas) can be diagnosed immediately.

Date: Aug 10, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Fatty Tumors

Question:My 11 year old lab mix has a fatty tumor right below her nipple. Is this dangerous?

Answer:If it has been checked by your veterinarian and officially declared a "fatty tumor" based on the cells that they see after they aspirated it, then No, these are usually not dangerous because they are benign growths. The fact that you got on here and asked me makes me worry that you haven't had it aspirated, so definitely do that when you can - it is a quick, easy procedure that your veterinarian can do in just a couple minutes, while you wait usually. Since it is near her nipple, it makes me worry a little more - they are predisposed to breast cancer just like people.

Date: Aug 9, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Lipoma underneath muscle

Question:I have an 11-12 year old lab who has a giant lipoma that our vet says is under the muscle of his side. it really protrudes way out. He has a hard time getting up and down and I think that this lipoma contributes to this. Is there anything that I can do to reduce this lipom?

Answer:Surgery is usually an option. Lipomas are benign so we usually just recommend removing them if that is really the source of his discomfort. If he is really overweight, he may lose some weight in the lipoma if he loses weight - this will also help him get up an down.

Date: Jul 30, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Causes

Question:Can anxiety and or stress cause a fatty tumor to grow quicker?

Answer:No, not even really indirectly - like they don't really "stress eat" like we do - they usually do the opposite (stop eating, for a little while at least).

Date: Jul 25, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Are these fatty tumor symptoms

Question:Our pug is scheduled for surgery of her fatty tumor in about 2 weeks. For the past week, her energy level has dropped, she's panting and drinking more water and today she is not interested in eating. She's 11 1/2 years old.

Answer:Call and let your veterinarian know - they may want to do her presurgery work-up now (exam, blood work, etc) and get to the bottom of what is bothering her before her surgery.

Date: Jul 21, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Fatty Tumor versus Fibrosarcoma

Question:Hello, I have a 9 year old boxer. A few weeks ago she developed a lump around her shoulder. When it didn't go away I took her to the vet. They exasperated it and I was told it could either be a fatty tumor or fibrosarcoma. They are requesting that we just have it taken out. My question is, is it not possible to see a difference in the cells they exasperated and be able to tell if they are only fat cells? I also have a pit bull who has gone through multiple surgeries for skin cancer and I would hate to put my boxer through the same situation if it is only fat. Thank you in advance!

Answer:It is not always possible to tell exactly what a mass is from a fine needle aspirate. You can try another aspirate and ask that it be sent off to a pathologist - sometimes this gets to be more time consuming and almost as expensive as just removing it. If your veterinarian has already sent it off to a pathologist, removing it is probably best.

Date: Jul 18, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Alarming discharge from "fatty growth"

Question:My Jack has 2 "fatty growths"; one located beside left ear and one on hind leg. They have not been rapid in growth, but over the past year, I did notice a change in the size- nothing too derastic. Today, the growth beside her ear started to discharge. She didn't seem to mind me cleaning the area with warm water and very much looked forward to her treat after I was done. I'm not too sure what to make of this. My mind is in complete shambles and would appreciate some guidance as to what this could possibly mean. My best.

Answer:Have your veterinarian check it and run some tests on it to determine exactly what kind of mass it is. Fatty masses usually don't have any sort of discharge unless they get secondarily infected, and that is rare but possible. It could be a different type of benign mass- certain benign masses, like sebaceous adenomas, will have discharge, but what you really want to be sure of is that it isn't malignant.

Date: Jul 8, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Lump

Question:Iv just found a lump on the umder side of my dogs tummy...its about 2cm wide... Doesnt seem to be botheringl him at all im just worried what it is. He is a cross breed and is 4yrs old

Answer:As long as it doesn't grow appreciably over the weekend, it can more than likely wait until Monday, but have your veterinarian do a fine needle aspirate of it to try to diagnose what it is - many are benign, some are malignant, and some are something in between. Then every once in a while it will be something odd like an abscess or fungal mass or cyst or hematoma/seroma, but the fine needle aspirate will usually tell you how much (or hopefully not at all) that you need to worry about it.

Date: Jul 7, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Large fatty tumor

Question:My 14 yr old Chihuahua has a huge fatty tumor on his chest and is overweight. The tumor is so large it makes him pant a lot - it really is grotesque looking. Is surgery an option at his age? Otherwise he gets around ok.

Answer:You and your veterinarian will have to work together to decide if he is a good anesthetic candidate - it depends on so many different things (bloodwork, x-rays usually, physical exam, how big the tumor is, where it is, if the surgeon will have enough skin to close the wound, if your veterinarian feels like he has safe anesthetics/equipment for geriatric, overweight, probably pretty small dogs, etc etc) For definitively benign tumors (most fatty tumors are), I tend to leave them alone as long as they aren't bothering the dog. One thing that you really need to do no matter what you do about surgery is help him lose weight - he may actually lose a little bulk in the tumor and make the surgery easier on him (or he may not need it if it shrinks enough) but it will make him a better anesthetic candidate and is better for his heart and joints as he gets older.

Date: Jul 1, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Cat
Topic: Home remedies

Question:My cat has developed a very large cyst of tumor on her back near her tail. She is a spayed female who is an indoor outdoor cat. She has hair loss, frequent scabbing in random places and anxiety. I want to help her as best I can. I might not be able to afford vet treatment. I need help.

Answer:Masses can be benign, malignant and then everything in between. The only way to know what it is for sure is to have your veterinarian aspirate it. The hair loss and scabbing is often secondary to allergies which your veterinarian will have medications for as well. One of the most common allergens in cats is fleas, so be sure to use a potent flea preventative on her.

Date: Jun 28, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: lipomas

Question:Is surgery the only treatment option for lipomas?

Answer:If it is a benign lipoma (that shouldn't be growing in size) and isn't bothering the dog - another option is leaving it alone, but if you mean to get rid of it, yes, surgery is your only real option right now. If your dog is overweight, losing weight may help a little but it probably won't go away completely.

Date: Jun 22, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Fatty lumps

Question:Hi my Labrador is 7, we found fatty lump on his right side belly last year, took him to vets for his annual check, she didn't seem conserned but she did measure and asked us to keep an eye on it. We have found two more one on his back leg underside, other on his side, he is not off his food, still goes on his walks, enjoys playing with his ball, don't no whether to leave him be because he's happy or take him to vets. Don't want to frighten him cause vet's make him nervous. Kind regards much appreciated for a reply..

Answer:I usually like to aspirate all lumps once just to be sure they aren't one of the few that "look" benign but may need to be removed. If it is soft and freely movable (not attached to underlying structures) and don't grow real quickly, they are usually benign.

Date: Jun 17, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Raised pink cyst on back

Question:My dog is 15 years old and developed a raised cyst on her back. It does not appear to hurt and has been there approximately 4 to 5 months. Looking closely it resembles a wart Any thoughts on what his might be_

Answer:I would really need to see it and aspirate it and look at it under the microscope. Most masses that are freely movable in the skin and don't grow very quickly will be benign but you can't tell just by looking at it.

Date: Jun 3, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: When to worry about fatty tumors.

Question:My Field English Cocker has multiple very large fatty tumors. He has been checked by a vet for them. A needle biopsy has been done. He has so many that it's hard to not pet him without finding or feeling one. One on his side by his ribs is huge. One in his groin prevents him from sitting normally. He also has a large tangerine size one next to his penis. The one on his side is probably 8inches round. I don't want to put him through surgery because he is 8 years old and there are so many. What is your recommendation for my boy? And I absolutely do not want to put him down.

Answer:I try to not surgically remove benign tumors but if they are bothering him, I will consider it. If he is overweight as well, having him lose weight will help - they wont go away totally but they could potentially get small enough to where they aren't bothering him or preventing him from sitting normally.

Date: May 26, 2017
Category: Fatty Tumors
Pet Type: Dog
Topic: Surgery

Question:Hello I have a lab, corgi, Shar Pei, Pom, Shi Tzu mix and I think she has a fatty tumor. No tests from my vet has been done yet to determine, however, I was given Ciprofloxacin and that did shrink it but it did grow after I was done with her doses. This was the third go round. My question is is a fatty tumor affected by the Cipro to know that is what it is? And the second question is what is your opinion for surgery? She is over 14 years old, great appetite and very active. Should I go another round of Cipro to shrink it then surgery? Right now it is the size of an elongated softball with a few tiny blisters and the occasional tiny bleeding. Any info will help. Thank you for your time.

Answer:It really sounds more like a malignant tumor than a benign fatty mass, so removing it sounds like a good idea - at her age, there is a lot to consider when putting her under anesthesia though, so work with your veterinarian who will run tests like blood work and chest x-rays to see if she is healthy/strong enough for surgery.


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