Lipoma aka Fatty Tumors

Senior golden retrieverDo you have an older dog that seems to have what appears to be a tumor or large lump appearing on the skin and wondering what it could possibly be?  Finding a lump under your pets skin can be very scary and should be evaluated by our veterinarian.

Fat cells can form benign fatty tumors also called lipomas.  This can occur because the tumorous fat cell grows at a different rate from the surrounding fat tissue.  The fatty cells accumulate and form tumors.  The size of the tumor depends on how many fat cells the lipoma is storing.  Heavy, overweight dogs can have larger lipomas.  The lipoma is benign because it doesn’t spread to other tissues and is usually found under the skin or muscle.

This “fatty” lipoma needs to be differentiated from a lipo Sarcoma, which is a malignancy.  Lipomas usually do not bother your pet, unless it forms in an area that may affect the dogs’ mobility.  i.e., if it is in the axilla area (armpit).  However, all lumps should be aspirated and the sample sent to the lab for cytology analysis.  Unfortunately if you dog gets a lipoma, they tend to develop more additional lipomas in the future.

Research is being done in California.  “The hypothesis is that an injection of Cl histolyticum purified collagenase (enzyme) will cause a rapid and durable reduction in size of canine lipomas”.  They are still in the begining phases of the trail so we have to wait and see.

If you pet has a lump, please let us at the Steinway Court Veterinarian ascertain/evaluate if it needs to be removed.  Better safe than sorry.