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.