Dogs can develop lipomas on their bodies at any stage of life, but this growth can particularly be common as a dog gets older. A lipoma is a mass of fat that can appear in many different areas of the animal's body. The most important thing for a dog owner to know is that a lipoma is not related to cancer, which means that it's not particularly a concern. If you detect what you suspect to be a lipoma on your dog, however, you should see your veterinarian. They'll test the growth to determine if it is indeed a lipoma. Many vets will elect to leave the lipoma alone and simply monitor it during the dog's regular checkups. There are times, however, that the vet may elect to remove it.
Your veterinarian may eventually decide to remove your dog's lipoma if this mass is somehow interfering with one or more of your pet's daily activities. For example, if the lipoma is on the dog's foot, it may cause the dog to walk with an unorthodox gait. Gait changes in a dog can often result in physical issues in the future, including pain in the hips. In this scenario, your veterinarian may feel that it's appropriate to remove the lipoma so that it no longer interferes with your dog's ability to walk.
In some cases, you may be aware of a lipoma preoccupying your dog to some degree. Depending on where this growth appears on the animal's body, you might see the dog scratching at it or even biting it. It's always best to avoid excessive contact with a lipoma. Certain types of pressure on this growth may push it against nerves in the area, resulting in discomfort. If you find that your dog will not leave its lipoma alone, report this information to your vet. They may feel that surgery is the best course of action.
Your veterinarian may discuss removing the dog's lipoma if it's in an area in which it dramatically impacts the dog's appearance. Even though the lipoma isn't harmful, you might feel upset about how it looks. For example, if the dog develops this growth on its face or head, it can be hard to ignore. In this case, you might feel that you want the vet to remove it to improve the look of your pet. Don't hesitate to speak to your veterinarian to learn more about lipomas and the process of surgically removing them.
For more information, contact a pet hospital such as Marquette Animal Hospital.