The Fatty Tumor
What is a Lipoma?
A lipoma is a term to describe a very common benign tumor of fat seen in middle-aged to older animals. These tumors can vary in terms of their rate of growth (some may remain the same size for years) but become problematic for your pet when they grow in locations that impact their ability to walk or cause discomfort.
How is a Lipoma Diagnosed?
A procedure called a Fine Needle Aspirate (FNA) is typically performed during which a needle is passed into the mass to collect cells. The sample is then placed on a slide and evaluted under a microsocpe to determine what type of cells are present.
How is a Lipoma Treated?
For the majority of masses, lipomas are a cosmetic problem and only removed if they are causing pain or invading adjacent tissues. If your pet is undergoing anesthesia for another reason, it may be the perfect time to remove a lipoma, but generally a separate surgerical and aneshtetic event is not recommened unless we have cause for concern.
How do we monitor a Lipoma?
Monitor lipomas carefully for changes is size or appearance. Annual fine needle aspirates are recommened since more aggresive tumors may be hiding within a outer fat layer and may have been missed on original aspirates.