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Fatty Tumors in Dogs

Fatty Tumors in Dogs

Fatty tumors in canines appear as soft lumps that move slightly from their place when a little pressure is applied on them. Learn more about these abnormal tissue growths from the following article.
DogAppy Staff
Last Updated: Jan 20, 2018
It is not uncommon for overweight dogs to develop lumps in their bodies. Sometimes, these lumps may be malignant. That's why, as a dog owner, you have to carefully check his body on a regular basis for any abnormal tissue growth. Fatty tumors are usually not a major cause of concern for pet owners as most of the time, they turn out to be benign. Though fatty lumps are a common occurrence in canines, you need to get your pet checked by an experienced vet for an accurate diagnosis.
Characteristics
Fatty tumors are also known as lipomas. These are benign tumors that are formed as a result of uncontrolled cell division. These tumors do not spread to other parts of the body. They are not painful and do not cause irritation or redness of the skin. They occur, most commonly, in the upper legs or in the belly region. In rare cases, a dog may develop what is known as infiltrative lipoma. These lipomas invade the surrounding tissues to a greater extent than the simple lipomas and are known to have regrown in 50% of the cases in which they had been removed surgically. Although all dog breeds can develop fatty tumors, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, Miniature Schnauzers and dogs of mixed breed have been found to be more prone to fatty tumors.
Diagnosis
You need to take your pet to the veterinarian the moment you find a lumpy growth in any part of the canine's body. Avoid making your own conclusions about the tumor. Let the vet examine the lump and determine if the tumor is benign or malignant. In order to do that, a vet may carry out a palpation of the growth. He may further suggest a fine needle aspirate or biopsy to confirm if it is a lipoma. Once confirmed that it is a fatty tumor, it is important to monitor its growth. This should be done at regular interval of two weeks. The size of the tumor should be filed away with proper dates for future reference.
Treatment
Most vets do not suggest surgical removal of these tumors unless it is absolutely necessary because of the risk associated with the use of anesthesia and complications due to surgery. These risks are often not worth being taken considering the benign nature of these lumps. However, the veterinarian may surgically remove the tumor because of the following problems:
  • If the tumor is getting increasing in size.
  • If the lipoma is suddenly growing bigger after remaining benign for a long time.
  • If it has become hard or beginning to look lumpier.
  • If it in any way obstructs the movement of the pet. For example, if the fatty tumor is present on the paw of the dog, and he is finding it difficult to move around.
  • If the pet is biting the lump, causing it to become infectious.
Although the specific cause of this health problem is not clearly known, it is probably due to the imbalance caused when a dog's body is unable to get rid of the materials it is supposed to. This imbalance can be reduced by dietary changes and nutritional supplements, although the fatty tumor cannot be cured completely. In certain cases, a low fat diet has resulted in the lump to shrink. Giving oily table scraps to a dog having fatty tumor should be avoided. Lipomas are fatty deposits and dog obesity is directly related to fatty tumors. Probably, that's the reason why a low fat diet works for dogs with fatty tumors.
Herbs like alfalfa, dandelion root, garlic and milk thistle strengthen the immune system and are helpful in managing all types of tumors in dogs. In case of tumors that grow fast and become invasive, radiation therapy may be required.

Fatty tumors rarely pose danger to a dog's health. However, this statement should not be interpreted as dismissing every lump on your dog's body. The moment you detect a tumorous growth on your dog, get it diagnosed by a vet. Besides taking one's dog to the vet when an abnormality is detected, regular visit to the vet is an important component of dog care. Another point to be considered is that these treatment options may or may not work on some canines. That's why, it is best to leave the decision on the veterinarian whom you trust.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.
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