Many pets present to us with small to extremely large masses of the skin. These masses can be as different as all the fish in the ocean. We are going to focus on Lipomas in the blog today. Lipomas are soft, freely moveable masses just below the skin in dogs and, less commonly, cats. In many instances they can be benign (non cancerous). In others, they can morph in to more aggressive tumors such as Liposarcomas (definitely NOT benign). Labrador Retrievers, Schnauzers and Doberman Pinchers are just a few of the breeds that appear to be predisposed to these unsightly protuberances. Overweight female (Gee, do we EVER get a break?) dogs also seem to be over represented to this condition.
How can you tell if it’s a Lipoma? First, lets just begin by stating ALL LUMPS SHOULD BE CHECKED BY YOUR VETERINARIAN! What you think may be a benign tumor, may be something much more sinister. Early diagnosis, just as with people, is the key to beating certain types of cancers. Your veterinarian may perform a procedure called a fine needle aspirate. This is where a needle is inserted into the mass and cells are drawn out (with a few kind words and a glass of wine perhaps?). These cells are ejected onto a slide and sent to be reviewed by a pathologist. This procedure is not 100% accurate, but it may help to give you an idea of what type of tumor your pet is dealing with.
As stated previously, some Lipomas can develop into more aggressive tumors, so try not to blow it off as “just a Lipoma“. It is extremely important that you monitor your pet’s masses and bring any changes to your doctor’s attention. You can even use the handy dandy lump bump chart from our website. Your pet will be happy about the regular massages and you can rest easy knowing that you are contributing to their long, healthy life.