What is a dog lipoma?

When you hear the word “dog lipoma”; it probably sounds scary or life threatening, however, lipomas are one of the most common benign tumors found in dogs. A lipoma is not cancerous and will not become cancerous.  They really won’t pose a problem to your dog’s health, but can make them uncomfortable and depending on the size, it could compromise their ability to move around.  Veterinarians will often times disregard lipomas as not needing treatment, and do not recommend removal unless they are causing a problem. 

Dog lipoma complications

A few complications may come with lipomas.  If they become too large, the dog may not be able to move around as easily, affecting their quality of life.  They could also cause irritation resulting in your dog constantly chewing or scratching the tumor.  This could lead to bleeding and the tumor could even explode, which is a messy and unpleasant experience.  If the dog’s quality of life or movement is being affected in any way then your veterinarian will most likely suggest removal. 

One concern that comes with lipomas is the fact that they ARE harmless; because of this fact, owners might mistake other growths for lipomas and overlook a life-threatening tumor. This is why it is important to have every growth examined by a veterinarian. A veterinarian will be able to to distinguish between lipomas, and serious tumors. 

Dog lipoma treatment

It is advisable to bring your dog in for an examination if you find a growth that suddenly appeared.  The vet will recommend you to keep an eye on the lipoma and not to be concerned unless it starts to grow rapidly or becomes too large.  To confirm that the growth is a lipoma, vets use a fine needle to aspirate, or a biopsy.
When it comes to removing lipomas, it is generally discouraged to do so because the slight risks associated with anesthesia and surgical complications are not worth the health benefits of removing a common growth that will not cause any problem.  However, if your dog needs to have another surgery that requires them to be put under, the growths can be removed them.

Who is more prone to lipomas?

Certain dog breeds are more susceptible to lipomas, such as cocker spaniels, dachshunds, poodles and terriers.  They also occur more often in middle-aged dogs and female dogs, but it is important to note that they can occur in any breed at any age. 

The cause of lipomas is unknown so there is no exact way to prevent them.  Just keep an eye on your dog’s skin, and again, any discovered lumps should be examined by a vet. 



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