What Causes Lipomas in Dogs?

Lipomas also known as fatty cysts or tumors are typically benign growths. The precise cause of lipomas is not determined. Lipomas are frequently found in senior or obese dogs. Lipomas do not present a health risk so vets will not recommend surgery or any treatment. However, lipomas should be monitored, so that they won’t develop into malignant tumors.

Causes of Lipomas

Even if there is no sufficient evidence to back up these causes, there are a few probable factors that cause the occurrence of fatty cysts in dogs.

The dog’s diet is thought to play an important role. This is why lipomas are more common in obese dogs. A lot of vets believe that fatty cysts are due to a diet that is rich in carbohydrates.

Other theories claim that the fatty cysts are caused by intensive hormonal activity or a hormonal imbalance in the dog’s organism. These may be caused by pregnancy or a problem in the dog’s body. Certain drugs may also cause hormonal imbalance.

The lipomas may simply be caused by an accumulation of fatty tissues, which is again due to the fact that the dog is overweight.

The formation of fatty cysts may also be attributed to heredity, according to some vets.

Detecting Lipomas

Lipomas appear as unusual growths that you can feel if you palpate the dog’s skin. To make sure the growth is not cancerous you need to get a biopsy, which will analyze the cells that make up the cyst.

In some cases, malignant tumors may have the appearance of lipomas.

If the tests show that the growth is a fatty cyst, the vet will not recommend any type of treatment, as the lipoma will not cause any problems. A surgery can present more risks and it also requires anesthesia.

However, if the lipoma is located on the eyelids or other areas that cause discomfort, surgery or aspiration of the fatty cyst will be performed. In some cases, the cysts may disappear in time, without any treatment.

Preventing Lipomas

Lipomas may not be prevented as the clear causes leading to the formation of fatty cysts are not known.

However, you can take a few cautionary measures such as offering a healthy diet to the dog. A healthy diet should include a minimum of carbohydrates and should contain some whole wheat. Digestive enzyme supplements are recommended to support the digestion and the formation of fatty deposits.

It is also recommended to have regular checkups and detect any health problems. Hormonal imbalance that may be a cause for fatty cyst formation can be identified judging by a few symptoms:

  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Agitation and insomnia
  • Oily skin
  • Acne in the face area

Any abnormal symptoms should be signaled to the vet.

It is important to get all growths checked, even if you are sure it is a lipoma. In some cases, what you think is a lipoma can be a malignant growth.