Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Lipoma in Dogs

What Are Lipomas in Dogs?

Lipomas, commonly known as fatty tumors, are frequently encountered by pet owners. They represent prevalent growths that typically occur in the tissue layers beneath a dog’s skin.

In dogs, lipomas are benign and noncancerous, originating from fat cells. They tend to be more prevalent in overweight dogs and are often associated with aging.

Certain breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Miniature Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Golden Retrievers, and Weimaraners are predisposed to developing lipomas, although they can affect any breed.


The primary symptom indicating the presence of lipomas in dogs is the detection of a lump or mass just beneath the skin’s surface. Lipomas typically have well-defined borders, although their shape can vary from round to oval to irregular and more bulbous in appearance. They often have a “squishy” or fluctuant texture, although they can also feel firmer in consistency. Depending on their attachment to surrounding tissues, lipomas may either be firmly stuck in place or somewhat movable.

Lipomas can manifest in various locations on or within a dog’s body, with the abdomen and chest being common sites. Additionally, many lipomas are found on a dog’s legs, but they can occur anywhere, including internal organs.

While lipomas may start small, they have the potential to grow significantly. As they increase in size, they can become cumbersome and may outgrow their blood supply, leading to issues such as pain or necrosis. Depending on their location, large lipomas can also hinder a dog’s mobility.


To accurately diagnose dog lipomas, which can resemble other potentially malignant tumors, veterinarians employ various methods.

One common noninvasive diagnostic test recommended by veterinarians is a fine-needle aspirate and cytology exam. During this procedure, a needle is used to extract a sample of cells from the mass. The veterinarian then stains these cells on a microscope slide and examines them under a microscope. This process is quick and safe.

Lipomas typically contain oily material and fat cells that are easily recognizable under the microscope. However, to confirm the mass as a lipoma definitively, a biopsy involving a larger tissue sample is often necessary. This allows for a more thorough examination of the mass.

Occasionally, what initially appears to be a benign lipoma may turn out to be a malignant lipoma, known as liposarcomas. Despite their benign appearance and texture, they can pose serious health risks to the dog.


After confirming the diagnosis of a lipoma in a dog, most cases typically require only monitoring without active treatment. Lipomas are generally not a cause for concern unless they grow uncomfortably large or occur in awkward locations.

Since lipomas tend to grow slowly, there’s usually no rush to decide on surgical removal. However, larger lipomas or those that invade surrounding tissue may be considered for surgical intervention. Additionally, rapidly growing tumors might warrant surgical removal as well.

Infiltrative lipomas, a less common type, pose challenges during surgery due to their tendency to infiltrate nearby tissues. Delineating their borders can be difficult, and recurrence after surgery is more likely with this type of lipoma.

Living and Management

If you and your veterinarian decide to pursue a conservative approach in managing your dog’s lipoma rather than opting for surgical removal, it’s crucial to closely monitor the size and growth rate of the lipoma.

Regularly measure the size, at least every six months, and document changes with photos and measurements. Utilizing your cell phone to capture images of the growth can be helpful. Lipoma growth tends to be gradual, and it’s not uncommon for them to increase in size significantly over time.

Always remain vigilant for any alterations in size, shape, or firmness of the lipoma, and assess the condition of the skin covering it. If your dog experiences discomfort or irritation due to the lipoma, reconsidering surgical removal may be necessary.

Maintaining your dog at an appropriate weight and implementing a weight-loss plan if necessary can often help manage lipoma growth and prevent the formation of new ones. While some lipomas may shrink with weight loss, complete disappearance is not always guaranteed. Overall, the prognosis following a lipoma diagnosis is typically favorable, and there’s generally no need for undue concern.

Lipoma in Dogs FAQs

Do lipomas go away in dogs?

Lipomas may reduce in size with weight loss, but they typically do not disappear completely without intervention. While surgery is not frequently required, it is generally successful in removing them. Nonetheless, there’s a possibility of their recurrence in a different location.

Is lipoma in dogs deadly?

No, lipomas themselves are not usually fatal for dogs. However, depending on their location, lipomas can pose problems. For instance, a lipoma surrounding the heart can lead to fatal consequences, although they are most commonly found in the tissue beneath the skin.

Do lipomas in dogs need to be removed?

Occasionally, removal of a lipoma is required, while other times it is not. As they increase in size, they can lead to issues such as tissue necrosis or discomfort for the dog.

Can lipomas in dogs grow fast?

Lipomas typically exhibit slow growth. If you notice a mass that seemingly appeared overnight, it is unlikely to be a lipoma.

Scroll to Top