Jump to section

What is Lipoma?

Though the fatty tissue tumor is typically a mainly cosmetic issue, difficulties can arise for your pet if the tumor is located in an area of the throat (which can impede breathing). If a lipoma on a limb grows to be very large, this can cause discomfort for your dog as well, as he may find it difficult to get comfortable when walking or lying down. Tumors of fat (adipose tissue) tend to be found most often in female dogs that are overweight.

A benign fatty tissue tumor is also known as a lipoma. Fat cells form between the layers of the muscles and skin. Found in many locations on the canine body, lipomas are slow growing and a very common occurrence in dogs.

Lipoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Lipoma in Dogs

The usual adipose tissue tumor will be found by you as the owner, when petting your dog, or during a routine check up at the veterinary clinic. Of course, as this type of tumor can become very large, you may see it appear before you are even aware that it has been growing.

  • These tumors are usually soft and smooth, often feeling rubbery
  • They can usually move freely under the skin when touched
  • Merging with local healthy tissue is common
  • This benign mass is often round or oval, and well defined
  • If the tumor moves into muscle, there can be swelling
  • They are regularly seen on the neck, chest, trunk and legs but can also be found in other locations like the tongue
  • Rarely, this type of tumor will appear behind the eye, in the abdomen, or around the head (causing serious secondary effects)
Types

Fatty tissue tumors are classified in two ways. Both types do not customarily mutate into malignant masses, but either form should be removed in order to maintain the health and safety of your beloved canine family member.

  • Non-infiltrative
    • These lipomas are easily removed
    • Recurrence is not common
  • Infiltrative
    • This tumor has extended itself into adjacent muscle and tissue
    • Recurrence happens frequently

It should be noted that a malignant lipoma (liposarcoma) is rare, but can happen.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Lipoma in Dogs

In many cases, the exact known cause of the adipose tumor is not evident. There are some factors thought to be a cause for benign fatty tissue tumors.

  • Hormones
  • Sun exposure on the skin
  • Chemical exposure in the environment
  • It could be the beginning of a malignancy
  • Viruses
  • Genetics
  • Predisposition has been documented in the following Breeds: Shetland Sheepdogs, Dachshunds, Cocker Spaniels, Weimaraners, Miniature Schnauzers, Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinschers, and mixed breeds
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Lipoma in Dogs

When you bring your canine companion to the veterinarian, be prepared for a full examination, and the possibility of further testing in order to receive a definitive diagnosis. The information you can provide in advance of the testing will be of great assistance to the veterinary team. Your veterinarian and her technicians may ask questions as they begin the examination.

  • How long has the tumor been growing, to your knowledge?
  • Does your pet show any pain when you touch the mass?
  • What is his typical diet?
  • Has his appetite been normal of late?
  • Does he exhibit any difficulty when eating?
  • What are his urinary and defecation habits like in recent days?
  • Has his behavior changed at all?

Once your veterinarian has palpated your pet’s chest, limbs, and abdomen for tumors other than what you have been able to show her, she may suggest further testing.

  • A needle aspirate will withdraw oily material and fat cells that will be examined under the microscope (cytology), in order to identify and confirm the fatty tissue tumor
  • A punch biopsy or full excision biopsy may be necessary to examine tissue (histopathology) and rule out a malignant cancerous tumor
  • A radiograph, ultrasound, or computed tomography (CT) scan might be needed in addition, if the suspected tumor is thought to be in an area not easily reached during surgery, and to distinguish the tumor from normal fatty tissue
  • Exploratory surgery could be recommended; for example, if the tumor is in the abdomen

If surgery is required (this is the usual option), then a complete blood count, chemistry profile, and urine test will be done to review the general health of your pet, making assurances that surgery is viable.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Lipoma in Dogs

The treatment protocol will have a few variables. The age of your dog, his present state of health, the type of tumor, the location, and the size all have a bearing on the procedure to follow. To be noted, for example, is the fact that if your dog is getting on in age and the tumor does not seem to be causing him distress and is indeed benign, the decision to leave well enough alone could very well be the case.

For our overweight canine family members who may need surgery, there is the possibility of the need to lose some excess weight first, so the veterinary surgeon can accurately distinguish the tumor from normal body fat. The surgeon will have the goal to excise completely the lump, and clearly defined tumor margins are necessary in order to achieve this.

During surgery, your much-loved dog will be carefully monitored. He will receive intravenous fluids and pain medication. While under the anesthesia, the observation of his blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and rhythm, and oxygen levels will be of utmost importance.

Surgery predominantly solves the adipose tissue tumor problem. In some cases, though, if the tumor has invaded muscle and tissue (infiltrative), then amputation of a limb could be a probability. Your veterinary team can discuss the implications of amputation with you, and put your mind at ease. Many dogs live happy, full lives with three legs, and adjust very well.

Some veterinarians may discuss holistic approaches to tumor control such as acupressure, nutritional management, and herbal therapy.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Lipoma in Dogs

In the case of a simple (non-infiltrative) tumor, discharge from the hospital could be the same day. For a more invasive operation, overnight observation could be required.

Once home, your pet will need your diligent care. Pain medication and anti-inflammatories will be administered by you, with the direction of the veterinary team. Make sure your dog does not lick the wound. Your veterinarian will suggest an Elizabethan collar if she thinks it is needed. Monitor the incision for irritation or infection, and call the clinic if you have concerns about the healing process. Exercise will not be permitted for 3 weeks to a month after the surgery.

It should be noted that infiltrative tumors have been documented to return within a year in up to 30 percent of cases. Continued weight control is important, and may slow the regrowth possibility.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Lipoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

arrow-up-icon

Top

Lipoma Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Cross westie and yorkie

dog-age-icon

13 yrs 6 months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lipoma Weeping

underneath on belly just want some advice is it ok to leave her like this or what otjer ootions is there

July 24, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Gina U. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello If your pet has a lipoma that is weeping or oozing, he should see a veterinarian right away. It may be time for the fatty tumor to be removed. Good luck.

July 24, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

dog-breed-icon

Pug

dog-age-icon

Eleven Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

None

I found a small lump on each side of my babes neck. His chest also feels squishy. I have a vet appt. in 2 week, but don’t know if I should go to the emergency clinic. He has no fever or any other symptoms currently.

July 24, 2020

Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Sara O. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

0 Recommendations

Hello, This may be fatty masses or could be lymph nodes. It would be best to see your vet. If the masses are getting bigger, it may be better to see your vet sooner as that can be a sign of cancer.

July 24, 2020

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Mia

dog-breed-icon

Miniature Pinscher

dog-age-icon

17 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a Min Pin who is 17 years old, she has had 3 lipomas removed, 2 so far this year in separate surgeries, always on her neck.She had her las surgery in May and already has two new lipomas, another on her neck and one towards top of leg/shoulder area. The skin on the bigger one is fairly taut, wondering if I should leave alone or is there a chance of rupturing? Next is question about age and quality of life, she urinates outside however she defecates in her bedding, her hips bother her as she has trouble standing and squatting to urinate she will sometimes fall over and urinate in a position of lying down. She’s not in pain, doesn’t cry, and still has sparkle in her eyes...guess my question is continue to have removed or let them be....I am struggling with decision to continuously having surgery when they are growing back so quickly...3-4 mos in between this would be surgery 4

Sept. 5, 2018

Mia's Owner


hi, my dog had surgery for a huge infiltration lipoma and four weeks later it started growing again. I decided to get to the root of the cause rather than keep doing surgery after surgery. I am happy to say after putting her on the below protocol, her lipoma has shrunk significantly in just 2 1/2 months. In addition, she is more agile, leaps and runs easily again. First, stop feeding kibble and switch your dog to a low carb raw diet. There are many brands, just make sure the carbs (which is the stuff not listed that rounds the percentages in the ingredients up to 100!) is less than 8%. The Keto Sanctuary recommends Valiant. I have my dog on Stella & Chewy’s and I add moisture. In addition, incorporate Intermittent fasting at a 16:8 ratio and during the eight hours only feed twice. This gives the body 16 hours of detoxing uninterrupted by the drain of constant digestion. Second, Mercola.com has projects for dogs that take down inflammation and support liver detox, which is essential for getting the fat out of the body. I have my dog on Curcurmin, Liver Detox, Krill Fish Oil, Mushroom Complex and Digestive enzymes — all from Mercola.com. Third, I give my dog Wobenzym (vitaliving.com) first thing in the morning and before bed (this is key!). Wobenzym clears inflammation and will also stop your dogs hips from hurting. Fourth, you must walk your dog and get its weight to a 3 on the 1 to 5 standard chart. Look it up, but you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them, the belly should nip up and you should be able to see a waistline when looking down, If your dog is overweight you have to put them on a diet and cut back 20 to 30% of their caloric intake. My dog was 20lbs and is now a lean and mean 17lbs. Fifth, no toxic flea and tick spot ons or pills or heart worm medicine. Many dogs have lipomas exactly where the spot on is put, basically the fat encapsulates the toxins. Go to Only Natural and get one of their kits. I am using the Garlic & Brewers Yeast treats, shampoo, spray and Easy Defense Tab. I also added an Amber Pet collar. My dog has been flea and tick free all summer. But I wouldn’t rely on just one modality, you have to do 3 to 4. This may all sound like a lot but it has worked and her lipomas have all shrunk. Secret to success: lose weight, support fat digestion, detox, eliminate toxins and walk, walk walk, I am walking her 5 miles a day and tracking through Fitbark, which I love. Good luck!

Sept. 8, 2018

Analisa L.

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Allie

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

My lab Allie has a lipoma about 1" x 1" on her front wrist joint. It does not seem to bother her at all and she pays it no attention. It also does not seem to be growing. The vet recommended a teeth cleaning and removing the lipoma at the same time. I'm worried removing the lipoma might cause her more problems then just leaving it alone (unless it begins to grow or cause her discomfort). Any advice would be appreciated!

Aug. 21, 2018

Allie's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

Whether you remove that lump or not is really up to you at this point. Leaving it may mean that it starts to grow and bother Allie at some point, and it may need to be removed then. Removing it not may mean that you need to manage her not licking at it for a few days, but it will be gone. Whether you decide to have it removed or leave it is something that you will need to decide.

Aug. 21, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Francis

dog-breed-icon

Chihuahua

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

Would an ultrasound determine if my dog has a fatty lipoma or a hernia? I do not want to do needle aspiration until we find out for sure. Our Vet said it was a lipoma and 2nd opinion said may be hernia. Location is on groin next to his penis. It is the size of a quarter and extends one inch high, out from body. It seems very soft. Our sweet 13 yr. old long coat Chihuahua is healthy and eats well. Has a slight heart condition. I am afraid of anesthesia if he needs surgery but worried that this lump may interfere with urination soon.

Aug. 21, 2018

Francis' Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Many times hernias are initially fat from inside the abdomen which pass through a defect in the abdominal wall which means an x-ray or ultrasound may not be productive; if the lump is near the area for an inguinal hernia it may just be that, but if the lump is more medial (towards the penis) then it may be a lipoma or other mass. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 21, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Grasshopper

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

12 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Limping

My really healthy, fit, 12 -year-old Labrador has always had lipomas. Recently, when she gets up from laying down, she is really limping badly. I noticed a large lipoma in the joint area. She does not seem to be in pain, so I’m wondering if it is hindering her movement?

dog-name-icon

Betty

dog-breed-icon

Mix

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Walks Funny

My dog is a 13 year old Chihuahua/Weiner/Poodle and shes always been healthy. About 4-5 months ago she began developing a bump on her right upper chest on her ribs, by her arm. She began walking a little funny but it doesn’t hurt her when we touch it. It can move around a little bit when you touch it also.

dog-name-icon

Maverick

dog-breed-icon

Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Pain
Limping

By black lab is 10 yrs. Has multiple lipoma w/no issues until now. One was just discovered in his left hind leg in the upper back tissue portion causing a limp, so pain when he walks and also signs of pain at rest do to having to move often.

dog-name-icon

Sammy

dog-breed-icon

Schnoodle

dog-age-icon

7 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing. Gagging Limpomas
Coughing. Gagging, Limpomas

Sammy our soon to be 8 year old Schnoodle (rescue) has several limpomas. He's got two large ones under each front leg...or what we call arm pits. Very soft and moveable. About size of large plums. Doesn't seem to keep him from his favorite things to do like playing catch! Or dancing! The one that's concerning me is the one on his neck that's very close to his throat. Our vet has measured and kept an eye on it. He's had it for 3 years. But lately it's become larger. It's probably an inch in diameter. Soft and pliable. But..he coughs or gags for no reason. He's always had this what we call..."an old man hacking." It's just more often. He also does this backwards snorting and gasping thing. Our Chiweenie does this too when she's excited to go for a walk. But Sam would only do this when he's had to take Ace for medical reasons, fireworks, or long car trips. So not often at all. But it's happening now on no medication. We did get an estimate for removal of all of them. $1,500 last summer at his annual physical. The cost doesn't matter. But here is why we hesitated to have surgery. We had to have both of his back knees replaced when he was 5-6 years old as he blew them out one after the other. We took him to a specialist at the University of Illinois for both surgeries. Total cost 10K. Worth every penny! But the recovery period was hell. Six months for each leg. And 24 hour care because he wasn't making "good choices" during his recovery! He's a very active dog....and he was on Ace for the first few weeks because we cannot keep him down! Our vet was even shocked at how alert and active right out of surgery...and blew him away when we'd visit his office and he saw how active, alert and moving around on a full pill before the long car ride. He made a great recovery. He just needs a Tramadol sometimes after being at the groomer and standing for an extended time. But recovery was just hell. And we were concerned about putting him through another surgery right after that year from hell. It was so hard on Sam...and on me and my husband...and on Sam's sisters Bella and Paeyton Rae (Pomeranian). We had and have our hands full! Our living room was a hospital room for a year. Hand feedings cause Sam couldn't stand...potty duty was very difficult. You get the picture I'm sure. I'm very concerned about this smaller one just millimeters from his throat. What are the chances that this one is obstructing his wind pipe? He eats fine. No vomiting. Very active! But if he needs to have at least this one removed we'll do it without hesitation.

dog-name-icon

Sassy

dog-breed-icon

Doberman Pinscher

dog-age-icon

1 Year

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Pain
Normal
Not So Happy

Hi my mother recently discovered a lump on my 1 year and 4 month on dobermsn pinscher. (80-ish pounds) I felt it and it felt like a ball but oval shaped just sitting on her chest/stomach area. We stomach re trying to t her an appointment right now. She has not shown any signs of pain and doesn't eally notice that it's there. I'm really hoping that it is not lipoma. It y perecrly fits the description though. Oval shaped, moves freely, soft and by her stomach. Can someone tell me if it could be and what I should do?

Lipoma Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $300 - $5,000

Average Cost

$800

How can we help your pet?