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Lipoma in Dogs

Lipoma in Dogs

Lipoma sounds intimidating, but pet owners need not worry. Lipoma refers to small benign tumors that do not pose any threat to your dog's health.
Indrajit Deshmukh
Lipoma is nothing but a benign tumor which is made out of the adipose tissue. These tumors are soft, painless and sometimes even movable. Lipoma is quite common in dogs, and if you have a dog, you probably might have noticed or rather felt these fatty tumors in your dog. Lipoma affects dogs irrespective of their breed so it doesn't matter if you have a St. Bernard or a Rottweiler. As the dog ages it is more vulnerable to these benign tumors like Lipoma. These tumors aren't life-threatening and most times it will not make a difference if you leave them untreated.

Lipoma are small and painless fatty tumors, which can be found directly under the skin, mainly in the legs and the abdominal part (although it can form anywhere in the body). Mature fat cells form these benign lumps can occur in various shapes and sizes. These lipomas are common in almost all breeds of dogs and the risk of having lipoma increases as the dog gets older and if the dog is overweight, though puppies and younger dogs can develop these fatty lumps of tissues. Owners usually worry when their dogs get these tumors, but, fortunately these tumors or rather lipomas, are not cancerous and they rarely cause health problems in dogs. However, there are certain things that you need to watch out for when your feel these lumps in your dog's body and they are:
  • Swelling of the skin
  • Rate at which the lump grows in size and
  • Whether the lump is fixed or movable.
If the size increases drastically or if the lump is fixed, it could be liposarcomas, which should be surgically removed and followed with radiation treatment in order to prevent problems like cancer. One should also watch out for infiltrative lipoma, which are lumps that develop in the deeper tissues, between the layers of the muscles and they are firmer than the common lipomas

Diagnosis and Treatment

True, that lipoma is not something that we should fret about, but as they say, 'better safe than sorry'. If your dog has these lumps, then it's best that you consult a vet just to be sure that it's not cancerous. The lump will be kept under observation for sometime and if there are no changes, then it's not a problem, but if the size increases or if it becomes fixed, then the vet will perform a biopsy in order to observe the cells. Otherwise, the vet will only ask you to leave the lipoma as it is.

The small, painless and movable tumors or lipoma, are something that the vet will recommend you not to remove surgically. It's best left alone but, if on the other hand, the size of the tumor increases or if it becomes painful or fixed, then lipoma removal in dogs is suggested. Using laser beams, an incision is made on the skin and the lipoma is removed. The laser beams ensure that the dog does not bleed much and that the area of surgery does not swell up later. The section where the tumor was present is then closed so that accumulation of fluid does not take place. The stitches can be removed only after a fortnight.

Consult a vet and get his opinion and let him be the judge of whether surgery is required or not. After the surgery, your dog will have difficulty in moving around and will also require a special diet in order to regain strength.