Many dogs get small fatty tumors, and they appear as easily as your dog finds a chew toy. This is apparently akin to us finding a gray hair when we were not looking, it just happens.
There is no dog that is immune to any type of lipoma, which is known as a small fatty tumor that is benign and unsightly. From time to time, they can be known to rarely cause problems for your dog.
A lipoma in dogs is simply a soft and most of the time non-painful mass located directly under the skin. True lipomas are never cancerous, but there are some malignant variations called liposarcomas and infiltrative lipomas that are invasive. Over ninety-eight percent of the time these lipomas will not be a cause of worry for you as an owner. It is safe to say that a lipoma in dogs is not something a dog owner should be overly worried about.
Normally lipomas in dogs will appear just about anywhere on a dog’s body, but are often found in the legs or on the abdominal area. Sizes for these tumors range from quarter sized to baseball sized. If let go for a period of time, some can reach the size of a basketball, but it is hard to think that an owner would allow this to go on for this long period of time.
Dogs are not just burdened with one, there can be many at a time, and these lipomas don’t care what breed or sex your dog may be. But many senior dogs tend to be prone to them more than younger pups are, but these tumors are not picky.
Since they don’t really cause any trouble, you should still see your vet. There is be a test that involves your dog’s tumor to have a needle inserted into it to make sure it is indeed benign. Then you can talk over with the vet if removal is an option.
Your vet will help you decide if the lipoma tumor should be removed, but normally is not done unless it causes any pain or makes it hard for your dog to move. The common area for a painful tumor is the armpit area next to the chest. In this spot, it would be hard for your dog to walk depending on the size and breed. Others recommend removal if the size was quite big and in a place where actual incisions were be required.
Since some lipomas are removed to simply make the dog look better, most vets only suggest removal otherwise. The fact of anesthesia makes your dog take risks that should really only be experienced if required.
As far as prevention, there is none known, some dogs are just simply prone to tumors. Just keep an eye on your dog and any new lumps that may occur should be checked.
The tumors to really look closely at are the ones that grow fast and look permanently fixed and never moving. These can be liposarcomas, and would be required to be removed and followed up with radiation. If there is no radiation afterwards, the cancer could spread to other areas of the body through the bloodstream.
Infiltrative lipomas have a ‘root’ type of system that will take root into deeper areas of the body like muscles. This is hard to remove because of the ‘root system’. Both types of tumors need radiation, and in rare instances, requirement of amputation to rid the body of the cancer is seen.
Amputation may be hard to deal with, but it is your job to make sure that your pet is healthy regardless of your comfort level from missing a limb. Animals do not react as humans do, to loss of a limb. They simply move on and find ways to get used to no longer having it, with no tears or regrets. We could all learn a little from watching our pets.
With lipomas and cancer being a part of your dog’s life, you can always keep a healthy eye on your dog’s body. When petting your friend, use your hands to feel for bumps or new lumpy areas. Anytime you find something new, it is nothing to be ashamed of to call the vet and at least ask for them to check it for you.
Keep track of sizes of any lumps you may find by using a piece of paper over the lump and try to trace over it. You can use this later when you check the lump for size again.
Again, dog cancer or lipomas are normally nothing to worry about, but you should see a vet and ask them exactly what to look for. You can get guidelines for your breed to look for when you are doubting yourself, and just let your vet know of any changes. You care for your dog and want him or her to be around for awhile, just for the peace of mind you should take proper care of them.