Lipoma (Fatty Tumor) in Dogs

Pet parents common ask questions about fatty tumors in dogs.  Fatty Tumors, also known as lipomas, are amongst the most common tumors that occur in dogs. Most fatty tumors are under the skin, in a space referred to as the subcutaneous space. The skin over the mass is generally normal in appearance.

Fatty tumors are generally soft although can be firm if they are under deeper tisuses. They can be movable or attached. Fatty tumors can vary in size but can grow to become very large.

Some can be the size of an egg and others as big as a basketball. Some fatty tumors can be over 14 pounds in weight when surgically removed.  Dogs that tend to get one fatty tumor will tend to get more as they age.

Fatty tumors are most common in middleaged to older dogs. They are more common in overweight dogs and occur about twice as often in female as compared to male dogs.  They can occur in any breed but are most common in Labrador Retrievers.

No treatment is required for most fatty cysts. Fatty tumors are not malignant but can grow and interfere with function or can break open and become infected. For example, they can occur in the armpit causing difficultly in a dogs ability to walk.  Some tumors can occur on the abdomen or chest way making it uncomfortable for a dog to lay down. Other tumors can become ulcerated and infected.  In these cases surgical removal is recommended to optimize comfort.

If your dog has a lump or mass, the best way to help determine the underlying cause is a fatty cyst to come see us. We have the experience to help you identify the type of tumor and provide recommendations for treatment or additional care.

Based on the location of the tumor size, feel and location, we will provide a recommendations as to the best approach.  We may recommend to evaluate the mass with a Fine needle aspirate (FNA), a Biopsy, or recommend mass removal (often called “lumpectomy”).  Most times a fine needle aspiration can diagnose a fatty tumor on dogs

For more information – please read Fatty Tumors in Dogs.