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    Thread: Large lipomas

    1. #1
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      coopsmom's Avatar
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      Large lipomas

      Cooper has 2 very large lipomas. One under / in his armpit and the other on his side. The one in his armpit was last measured a few months ago at 11 x 15 cm and that is just the part on the outside of the body that the vet could measure. This one is in the muscle tissue so the surgery would be quite serious. The vet estimates at least 1 hour under anesthesia for this one alone! The one on his side is just about as large. I had him scheduled for surgery to remove the one in the armpit, but cancelled it. I spoke with a friend that had it done on their lab and they ended up putting him down 6 months later. If Cooper only has a short while left I want him to enjoy it, not be in pain and recovering from a very invasive surgery. I don't feel good about either choice this issue is giving me...I wish he could tell me what to do for him. He will be 8 next month. I can tell there is some movement issues caused by the armpit one, but he is also overweight so I'm hoping if I can get him slimmed down a bit that could also help.
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    2. #2
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      lyvettely's Avatar
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      Oh golly I'm so sorry to hear about the lipomas. Both my labs, currently it's only Sarge, had/has them and our vet always called them "fatty friends" when she saw them pop up. I can't speak on the lipomas but I can share my story about needing your dog to lose some weight. My dogs were overweight by 5-7 pounds and my vet recommended that they both lose weight before it got out of hand. At the time I was feeding them kibble and my vet suggested I started feeding them half of what I was giving them for each meal twice a day. Well I did, and they quickly disliked it. They gobbled their kibble and were still hungry. I felt so bad! Then the two labs got creative, as you know that labs can be. They got into cabinets and started stealing food where before they did not. Then I friend of mine pointed me to raw food. I read on it extensively & decided to try it. My pups lost weight and for us the switch to raw food has been such a great decision because other things like allergies and a rough coat got remedied. I know raw food for your pup isn't for everyone and if you do decide to do it do your research. Good luck with the lipomas. I truly understand the quandary and sending hugs your way!


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    3. #3
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      SunDance's Avatar
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      Oh, man. I don't blame you for not operating on the armpit one...even for a young senior, that sounds way too taxing. Weight loss should help with his movement.

      None of our dogs have ever had one in a problematic area so we haven't removed any. Our Brutus had one the size of a slightly flattened soccer ball on his ribs...on the side he didn't favor for lying down...we even left that one alone. Someone I used to know at the park had a big yellow boy (reminded me so much of Brutus) who had a recurring large lipoma on his ribs...and that dog had surgery every so often to remove it after it regained its large size. The dog wasn't young and really had a tough time recovering from those relatively simple surgeries....and for what? It just grew back. I always thought that perhaps if he'd left it alone, it would have maxed out at a slightly larger size and not bothered the dog at all.

      Many good thoughts headed your way for Cooper's continued mobility and comfort.
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    4. #4
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      8 really isn't too old for surgery. If the vet does the blood work and it all looks fine, it's really no more stress than if done on a younger dog. I hear you about the armpit one. Grace (who is 12!) has one, it's a slow grower, but it's growing. I don't think it's impeding movement but it's heavy. Our vet has been reluctant to remove. Basically that area is very vascular and like you've been told, it's a tough surgery. I was watching a vet show on Animal Planet the other night, and they did a removal of one there and it was the size of a melon, 10#. So it CAN be done. We had a large one removed from our old male...it was in his groin area and affecting his back leg. It was an easy recovery.
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    5. #5
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      My girl Fannie had many lipomas on various places of her body, she was 4 when we took the first one off, and 12 with the last one, which was a small one on her knee area. We did blood tests before the surgery's to make sure all was well. I found one under her armpit when she was 15, my vet checked it and told me to keep an eye on it. A month later it was much larger and very ugly looking. My vet recommended removing it. We did the blood test and he told me if he didn't know better he would have thought the blood test was from a 6 year old. Turns out this one was a mast cell tumor. She did come through the surgery just fine, but sadly the tumor came back with a vengeance 6 months later.

      If it were me, I'd a least do the blood test to make sure he's good to go under, and then make the decision to remove the tumor or not.

    6. #6
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      Homing seniors, lumps and bumps live in our house. My thought, as long as it is not painful or hinder movement, keep and eye on it. Potion did have one very close to her armpit but it was so superficial (just under the skin) and very mobile that when she walked it moved out of the way.

      Lumps can get large enough to alter the mechanics of a joint and deform it along with causing pain.

      We've had surgery done on seniors as long as a good physical and blood work is clear. Healing and recovery is, of course, a little slower, but all have done quite well. It's a balancing act and the decision needs to be made after an in depth discussion with the vet.
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    7. #7
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      My old dogs had multiple lipomas in various sizes, but we never had to have one removed. Scully had a huge one on the side of her head near her ear, which I think did cause some minor discomfort just due to the weight of it, but she was 15 at the time. Mulder had one develop in his armpit that we were concerned about but it never got very big so we didn’t have it removed.

      I would say though, that I agree with Jen - 8 is not an old dog. Chloe will be 8 next month and is actively competing in performance events. I’ve been fortunate enough to have two dogs live to 15+ and one to just shy of 15, so from my perspective, 8 is just middle aged.

      It does sound like a tough surgery and I do agree that you should try whatever else you can (such as weight loss) before opting for surgery, but if it is truly impeding the quality of his life, I wouldn’t let worries about his age stop you from the removal surgery.
      Annette

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    8. #8
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      Dennis Thomas, DVM's Avatar
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      Very common to find multiple lipoma in Labs. There is a lot of debate as to what causes them. The basic approach that most vets have is to leave them alone unless they are interfering with some function, such as interfering with a vessel or a nerve. They are nothing more than a ball of fat with little blood supply. I have removed many of them and in your case, I would recommend leaving them alone unless they cause a problem. The one that you described associated with a muscle is a little misleading. Many lipomas are located between layers of muscle. Imagine that your two hands are on top of each other and you have a gold ball in between those hands. The golf ball will push the upper hand and create a bulge. This bulge can be detected on examination and if a needle biopsy is done, that often identifies it as a lipoma. These are not difficult to remove. The vet just separates the muscle layers with his/her hands and gently rolls the lipoma out. There is actually no cutting involved. I saw a Lab that had a soft-ball mass near his rear leg that the owner was told would be very difficult to remove and was quoted an enormous fee for the surgery. We did it and it took about 20 minutes to do the entire procedure and the cost was less than a couple hundred dollars. You might check with a holistic vet in your area. We have been able to shrink them down using acupuncture and some herbal therapy. Food is also a factor. Good luck.

    9. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Dennis Thomas, DVM For This Useful Post:

      Annette47 (05-10-2017), SunDance (05-10-2017)

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