Are fatty tumors dangerous?

 |  Feb 21st 2008  |   4 Contributions


Our yellow Lab/Golden Retriever was diagnosed with
a fatty tumor approximately 4 years ago. The vet
said it was benign with no reason for removal
except for cosmetic purposes. The lump has
continued to grow. He will be 12 years old in
September. Are fatty tumors ever a reason for
concern? He's very healthy and active for his
age. He is only fed Eagle Pack Holistic Senior
food.

Darlene
Mt. Pleasant PA

Fatty tumors, or lipomas, almost never cause problems in dogs. That is a good thing, because they are incredibly common. They occur in all breeds, regardless of weight or diet.

Lipomas are technically tumors, but don't let the t-word scare you. In practice, lipomas are nothing more than balls of fat that develop under the skin. In most cases, they are completely harmless. In fact, I once met a Labrador with a lipoma the size of a basketball on its side. The dog was fine, and the people who brought him to me decided not to remove the lipoma.

Although lipomas are generally harmless, it is important to verify that the mass on your dog is, in fact, a lipoma. This is best done using a procedure known as aspiration, in which a needle is inserted into the area to harvest some of the mass for analysis. Aspiration usually can be done without sedation or anesthesia.

As well, any mass that grows precipitously or shows a dramatic change in firmness or shape may be undergoing a change in its nature. If your dog's lipoma has changed appreciably since his last checkup, you should have your vet take a look at him.

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