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Fatty tumors, or lipomas, are one of the most common soft skin benign tumors found in dogs, especially amount older or overweight dogs. For some reason, overweight female dogs are especially prone to developing fatty tumors.
Fatty tumors can be found anywhere on the body, but they are most frequently located on the belly (mid-chest and down) and upper legs. Most tumors grow slowly and do not usually spread to other parts of the body.
Many holistic vets believe that fatty tumors are the result of a dog body's way to expel toxins or other imbalances.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, lipomas are considered as stagnation of body fluids. This may explain why older dogs are more prone to the development of lipomas. As their body systems are slowing down, they are not as effective in "moving" toxins, wastes and fluids out of the body.
In fact, the younger the dog, the more quickly you can shrink the fatty tumors on the dog. If you have a young dog, at the first sign of a fatty tumor developing, try to improve the dog's health holistically, through natural whole foods, supplements, exercise, etc. If you do that, there is a good chance that you may be able to shrink the growth.
The longer you wait, or the older the dog, the less responsive the growth is to any treatment.
In addition, over-vaccination may be a contributing factor to the development of fatty tumors in dogs.
All dog breeds can develop fatty tumors, but certain breeds seem to be at higher risk, such as:
A benign tumor is one that usually grows slowly and does not spread to other parts of the body. If it can be surgically removed in its entirety, the tumor will not grow back.
A malignant tumor, on the other hand, is usually fast-growing and more aggressive. Even if the tumor is surgically removed, it tends to grow back in the same location, or has the ability to metastasize (spread) to other locations or vital organs.
Fatty tumors are soft masses under the skin. They have certain characteristics, such as:
It is important to monitor the growth of a fatty tumor to make sure that there is no sudden change in size. You can document the size of the tumor by using some simple tools such as a piece of wax paper and a marker. Here is what you can do:
If you suddenly find a lump under the skin of your dog, it is important to ask a vet to examine the lump to see if it is a benign fatty tumor, or something malignant.
Never assume that any growth under the skin is just a fatty tumor. There are cancerous tumors such as mast cell tumors whose appearance mimics fatty tumors and only tests such as a fine needle aspirate or biopsy can give an accurate diagnosis.
Once it is confirmed that the growth is indeed a fatty tumor, the vet will document the size and location of the growth and then recommend a watch-and-wait approach. The lump will then be monitored at regular intervals, to make sure there have not been any cellular changes.
Since fatty tumors in dogs are not dangerous or life-threatening, surgery is usually not recommended to remove fatty tumors in dogs. In fact, some vets believe that removing one lump usually results in multiple lumps appearing later in the dog's life.
However, sometimes surgical removal of a fatty tumor is necessary. For example:
There are quite a few things that you can do to help control or even shrink the growth of fatty tumors in dogs.
The first thing to do is to look at your dog's diet. Be sure to feed him a natural diet, preferably grain-free and home-cooked, with human-grade animal proteins (e.g. chicken meat, turkey meat, salmon, etc.) as the main ingredient.
In addition to a healthy diet, some supplements may help dogs with fatty tumors.
Dogs with growths such as fatty tumors can benefit from this supplement. Many dog parents have seen their dogs' tumors shrink within a short period of time after giving this supplement to their dogs.
Try making a blend by mixing 3 drops of Frankincense oil and 2 drops of Grapefruit oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Use the oil blend to gently massage into the fatty tumor, twice daily.
Note, however, that if your dog's tumor is raw, weeping or bleeding, DO NOT use essential oils on it as the oils will sting.