dog has a lipoma

Your Dog Has A Lipoma: Causes And Treatments

Finding a soft, movable lump under your furry friend’s skin can be startling for any dog owner. Most likely it means your dog has a lipoma. Lipomas in dogs are those pesky fatty tumors that seem to pop up out of nowhere, affecting our beloved middle-aged canines.

In this article, we’ll dive into the causes of these benign growths and explore treatment options that could help manage or eliminate them. Keep reading—your pup’s comfort may just depend on it!

Key Takeaways

  • Lipomas in dogs are soft, non-cancerous lumps made of fat cells that commonly appear in middle-aged and older dogs.

  • Factors like genetics, age, weight, and lack of exercise can increase the risk of a dog developing lipomas.

  • Treatment options range from surgery to remove the tumor to watchful waiting if the lipoma is not causing discomfort or growing.

  • Fine needle aspiration or biopsy by a vet will ensure the lump isn’t a more serious issue like malignant tumors.

  • Keeping your dog at a healthy weight may help prevent new lipomas from forming.

Understanding Lipoma in Dogs

dog has a lipoma

Moving from what lipomas are, let’s dive deeper into their presence in dogs. Lipomas pop up as soft, rubbery lumps right under a dog’s skin. They come from fat cells that grow slowly and don’t cause pain.

Often seen in middle-aged and older dogs, these benign tumors can be felt with a simple pat down of your pet’s body. Not all lumps are dangerous; lipomas don’t spread to other parts of the body like cancerous tumors do.

Vets tackle these growths by taking a small sample with fine needle aspiration or biopsy. This lets them see the cells under the microscope to make sure they’re not dealing with something more serious like malignant tumors or mast cell tumors.

It’s important for keeping tabs on your furry friend’s health since some lookalike bumps might be bad news for your pup.

Causes and Symptoms of Lipoma in Dogs

dog has a lipoma

Lipomas in dogs are not fully understood. Yet, certain factors seem to make them more common.

  • Genetics play a role. Breeds like Doberman Pinschers and Golden Retrievers may be more prone.
  • Age is a factor. Older and middle-aged dogs get lipomas more often.
  • Weight matters. Dogs that are overweight have a higher chance of growing lipomas.
  • Inactivity can contribute. A lazy lifestyle might increase the risk of fat tumors.
  • Lumps under the skin are the main sign. They feel soft and movable.
  • Multiple fatty tumors may appear, not just one.
  • Pain isn’t common but can happen if the lipoma grows big or is an infiltrative type.
  • Bigger lipomas might cause discomfort or affect your dog’s movement.
  • Some dogs get so many lipomas that it changes how they look.
  • If your pup seems bothered by the lump, it’s time for a vet visit.

Treatment Options for Lipoma in Dogs

dog has a lipoma

Treating lipomas in dogs can be straightforward. You and your vet have several options to consider.

  • Surgical removal: Vets often recommend surgery for large or bothersome lipomas. They will cut out the tumor and some surrounding tissue. It’s the most effective way to handle them, especially if they’re causing your dog pain or restricting movement.

  • Watchful waiting: Small lipomas that don’t trouble your dog might just need monitoring. Your vet may suggest regular check-ups to ensure they’re not growing.

  • Liposuction: This less invasive method sucks out the fatty tissue through a small incision. However, it may not remove all of the lipoma, so regrowth is possible.

  • Steroid injections: Injecting steroids directly into the tumor can shrink smaller lipomas. But it’s not a permanent fix – they can grow back.

  • Radiation therapy: If your dog has an infiltrative lipoma, radiation might be an option. This type of treatment targets harder-to-remove tumors that dig into muscle tissue.

Potential Complications of Lipomas

While most lipomas do not cause harm to the dog and often don’t require treatment unless they grow large or are in a problematic location, there can be some complications or concerns associated with them, including:

  • Location and Size: If a lipoma pops up somewhere it can mess with how a dog moves, like under the arm or in the groin area, it can hurt or make it hard for the dog to get around.

  • Growth: Lipomas usually grow slowly, but sometimes they can get really big. When they do, they can make a dog uncomfortable by pressing on the stuff around them, like muscles or organs.

  • Infiltrative Lipomas: There’s a rarer kind of lipoma called an infiltrative lipoma, and this type can sneak into the muscle or connective tissues around it. Getting rid of these through surgery can be pretty tricky, and they might cause bigger problems because they spread into other areas.

  • Surgical Complications: If you decide to have a lipoma cut out, remember there are always some risks with surgery and being put under, like bleeding, getting an infection, or having a bad reaction to the meds.

  • Rare Transformation to Malignant Tumors: Even though it’s super rare, there’s still a tiny chance that a harmless tumor could turn nasty over time.

  • Multiple Lipomas: Some dogs might end up with a bunch of lipomas. Even though each one isn’t a big deal on its own, if they get too big or there are a lot of them, it could start messing with how happy and comfy the dog is.

  • Liposarcomas: While most lipomas are benign, liposarcomas are a malignant form of fatty tumor. They are much less common but can be mistaken for lipomas without proper diagnostic evaluation, such as biopsy and histopathology.

If you notice a lump or swelling on their dog, it’s important to have it examined by a veterinarian. The vet can assess whether the lump is a lipoma or something else that might require different treatment. In many cases, monitoring the lipoma for changes in size or behavior is all that’s needed, but surgical removal can be considered if the lipoma causes discomfort or other issues for the dog.


dog has a lipoma

Your dog’s health matters a lot, and finding a lump can be scary. Remember, lipomas are mostly harmless but do need your attention. Check with your vet for the best care plan. Surgery might be an option if the lipoma bothers your buddy.

Keep an eye on their weight—it can really help manage these fatty tumors!


1. What’s a lipoma in dogs?

A lipoma is a common, noncancerous skin tumor made of fat cells. It feels like a soft lump under your dog’s skin.

2. Why does my dog have a lipoma?

Overweight dogs can get lipomas more often, but any dog might grow one. It’s not fully understood why they appear but keeping your pet at a healthy weight may help prevent them.

3. Should I worry if my vet says my dog has a lipoma?

Usually, there’s no need to worry about lipomas because they’re benign—meaning they don’t spread or become cancerous like lymphomas or liposarcomas that veterinarians keep an eye on.

4. How do vets check if it’s really just a benign tumor?

Vets may do something called fine-needle aspirate, where they get some cells from the lump and look at them closely to make sure the growth isn’t harmful or likely to metastasize (spread).

5. Can you treat or remove these tumors?

Yes! Treatments for lipomas include surgery if they cause discomfort or lameness for your furry friend, though many times no treatment is needed if the lump doesn’t bother your dog.

6. Is there anything I can do to stop more tumors from popping up on my dog?

Keeping pets active and feeding them proper diet are key steps! Even though not all tumors can be prevented, maintaining ideal body weight for your pet could help reduce their chances of getting new lumps.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *