My Dog has a Lump Under the Skin – Is it a Lipoma?

Dog LipomaBe careful not to assume that a lump under the skin is automatically a lipoma. This is especially relevant with pet owners as there is a myth that lumps on dogs and cats are lipomas and are ok. This is not the case at all! A lump under the skin can be any number of things, one of them being a cancer tumor just waiting to spread through the body if not removed or treated. SO be vigilant when it comes to your pet, ask the right questions and make sure that you always get a reliable diagnosis for any lump under your pets skin.

A dog or cat can live their whole lives with a lipoma lump that does not grow or cause any health concerns. That is the good news if you pet is diagnosed with a lipoma. As long as the lipoma is not interfering with vital bodily functions like movement, organs, nerves, blood vessels …etc the lipoma is probably fine where it is and there is no need to put your pet through torturous surgical procedure that can be very stressful to your pet.  Be very careful on inexperienced dog groomers that do not understand the possible implications of a lump under the skin of your dog. They may tell you not to worry: “It’s a Lipoma!”. This is wishful thinking or unprofessional advice and maybe completely wrong. A lipoma cannot be conclusively diagnosed by sight and touch. A biopsy or scan is required to truly know what the mysterious lump is. There are many types of malignant tumors that can look harmless at first, but develop to be serious health concerns for your pet. Be vigilant and ask the right questions!

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Lipoma in Dogs – What you should know

Lipoma in DogsLipomas are the most common types of noncancerous tumors found in dogs regardless of breed, gender or age. All dogs can develop a lipoma or even multiple lipomas during their lifetime. Fortunately, a lipoma is usually not a health concern and is simply a lump of fatty tissue surrounded by a fibrous capsule. Lipomas can typically be found under the skin and are soft and squishy to the touch and can be moved around under the skin with your finger. They can appear anywhere on the dog’s body but are most common on the neck, upper legs, underarms and torso.

Although vets will tell you that any dog regardless of if they are young or old, or have other medical conditions can develop a lipoma, it has been strongly suggested that dogs with problems in their metabolism are more prone to developing a lipoma. In holistic or chinese medicine, it is believed that a lipoma is a manifestation of something not right in the body, such as poor organ function (liver, kidney or intestines) or manifestation of “stagnant Qi,” or “phlegm”.

A lipoma is usually not a serious health concern to your dog, but it’s certainly something you need to keep an eye on and take action if you feel that it is having a negative impact on your dog or pet.

Many vets will recommend removing any lump that is found on your pet. But before you chose the surgical path, you need to consider why this is necessary and any alternative options that you have available. Surgery can be very stressful to you dog and it’s not completely necessary in most lipoma related cases. Holistic veterinarians actually prefer to leave benign lipomas alone and simply keep an eye on them since they are not a health concern until they start to interfere with critical bodily functions. If your dogs lipoma begins to grow and is in an area where it is hindering movement, than it may likely be required that you have it removed. For example, a lipoma in your dogs underarm can irritate skin with movement and can cause discomfort and pain for your dog.

Dog lipoma lumpsRemember that a lipoma does not necessarily grow to a larger size. it can also very well stay the same size or even regress to a smaller size and in some cases disappear completely. So its important to take a measure and record its size and shape and just keep a regular watch on its progress every few weeks or months. Take a photo and write your thoughts and measurements on the back of the photo and keep that in your dogs health diary.

Hope this article helps you make wise and healthy decisions for your dogs health. Lets us know if you have any questions below!

My Dog may have a Lipoma – Should I be Concerned?

Lipoma in DogsWe received a question from the community and I would like to share the answer with all of you.

Q: My dog has a raised lump under the skin. It feels soft and moves around a little when touched. Should I be concerned? ~Jenny

A: Dear Jenny,

It sounds like your dog may have a lipoma, and while this may sound unsettling; a lipoma is generally harmless in pets especially when under the skin. Lipomas are quite common tumors in pets and especially dogs. They are benign concentrations of fatty cells that do not metastasis through the body. They are basically lumps of concentrated fatty cells.

Most lipomas feel soft to the touch and are movable under the skin, which is what you are describing. Your dog probably experiences no discomfort unless the lipoma is in a area that is very mobile like a joint. Usually if a pet develops one lipoma, they may develop more in their lifetime.

A type of lipoma to be concerned about is called an “infiltrative lipoma” that can grow into the muscle tissue and cause discomfort and may need to be removed surgically. You will need to consult your vet on what type of lipoma your dog has and get a thorough diagnosis.

The more serious type of lipoma is called a “liposarcoma”, which may need rapid removal by a vet. Unlike lipomas and infiltrative lipomas, these are very rare and can spread through the body in the animal’s lungs, bones and other organs. For a liposarcoma, a blood workup and tissue analysis is required to a complete diagnosis as these are not usually visible to the eye or touch. Surgery and/or radiation are used to treat a liposarcomas.

To be on the safe side, talk to your vet and have him/her check your dog and the fatty lump. Remember that in the vast majority of cases, lipomas are harmless and there is probably nothing to worry about. But check with your vet for peace of mind!

~Chris

Keep an Eye Out for Lipomas in Your Pet

If your furry family member has developed some sort of a growth under the skin on its body – neck, leg, belly, or any other body part, chances are that your pet may be stuck with a lipoma. There are a number of issues you may have discovered, depending on how fast the lump developed and its location, appearance, texture and movability. Anything from an abscess to a mast cell tumor can develop on your pet. Let’s discuss the best case scenario: your pet has developed a lipoma, a form of growth that any animal may develop over time.

What are lipomas? Lipomas are benign – noncancerous – freely movable, relatively slow growing fat-filled tumors that are quite common in dogs, especially older ones. They are soft, easily manipulated and located just under the dog’s skin. While they can develop anywhere, lipomas are most commonly found on your dog’s undercarriage, in the chest or abdomen. These tumors may be ugly, but they fortunately pose no health threat. A lipoma is the most common type of benign tumor in older dogs – nearly every senior dog has one, to say the least.

What causes lipomas? The exact cause of this type of tumor is yet to be discovered. Some vets say that these nonthreatening yet ugly bumps are part of the natural aging process.

What are the symptoms? The most common signs and symptoms of a lipoma are lumps and bumps under your pet’s skin. These lumps and bumps are typically round or oval in shape, freely movable and well-defined.

How can lipomas be diagnosed? To diagnose the noncancerous tumor, the veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination on your pet and may recommend diagnostic tests to confirm that the lump is a lipoma. These tests may include: needle aspiration, microscopic evaluation of cells, and biopsy of the tissue.

How can lipomas be treated? While these tumors don’t usually pose any serious health threat, removal of the lipoma is sometimes recommended if they limit the animal’s mobility appreciably. If they grow too large, making your cat or dog scratch or bite at them, removal of the lumps is also advisable.

If your veterinarian recommends surgery, they will most likely perform pre-surgical blood tests to make sure that your pet is health and can handle both the anesthesia and surgical procedure. If your veterinarian recommends leaving the lipoma alone, it will be important to monitor it for any changes. In some cases, a lipoma can grow too large and become uncomfortable. If you spot any abnormal lump or bump on your pet, you should contact your veterinarian. While lipomas are not life-threatening, other causes of bumps can have more serious side effects.

How can lipomas be prevented? There’s really nothing you can do to prevent your pet from developing a lipoma. These tumors are a natural part of the aging process for many animals. However, if you have questions, you should contact your veterinarian, the primary resource for information about the health and well-being of your furry friends.

So, if you find that a lump or bump has recently appeared on your pet, you should ask your veterinarian about it at your pet’s next appointment or, even better, you should schedule a specific consult to address this matter as early as possible. There is always the chance that the lump or bump isn’t a harmless lipoma, so the sooner you know, the better – for both you and your pet.