I found a lump on dog’s torso a few months ago and my mind immediately went to the worst-case scenario.  The appointment with the veterinarian was low-key. Nothing to worry about, she said! It was just a harmless, fatty tumor.

These tumors can occur at any time, and anywhere around the dog’s neck, torso or upper legs. Have you found a lump you’re worried about?  Hopefully, this post can help


A noncancerous tumor in a dog is commonly a fatty mass called a lipoma. A lipoma usually feels soft and will not cause the dog discomfort (unless the location of the tumor disrupts movement).

A lipoma is basically a lump of slow growing fat cells which remains localized, not traveling through the body or into other tissues.


  • Lipomas are the most common tumors seen in dogs.


Lipomas are benign and not often a cause for concern.


  • A dog can develop a lipoma at any time.


All dogs regardless of age, breed, or gender are susceptible.

If one lipoma has developed, it is not unusual for more tumors to develop.

Fatty Tumors in Dogs


Each tumor should be individually checked and diagnosed. There are different types of tumors that develop and the treatment may vary depending on which is present.


  • A fine needle aspiration will enable the vet to determine if the lump is a cause for concern or not.


A sterile needle is inserted into the mass in order to collect cells for evaluation.


When looking at a lump it is difficult to tell if it is benign or not which is why a fine needle aspiration might be necessary to diagnose the problem. This procedure is quick, simple and painless for your pet.


  • Determines if a lump is malignant or benign.


The evaluation of the fluid collected during the procedure is essential for finding out what kind of tumor you are dealing with.


  • The collected fluid will be evaluated under a microscope.


A vet may evaluate the cells under a microscope or send them to a lab in order to determine what is present in the mass.


  • Sedation may be required.


In some cases, for example when the tumor is in the mouth, sedation may be required in order for a fine needle aspiration to take place.


  • 97.9% accurate in diagnosing cancer (Source: Pet Cancer Centre)



If the benign lipoma invades muscle tissue, it is known as the infiltrative lipoma sub-classification.


  • Infiltrative Lipoma occurs less often than lipoma.


Infiltrative lipoma penetrates muscle tissue as well as connective tissue, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, lymph nodes and salivary glands. It is more difficult to treat but fortunately is less commonly seen.


  • Infiltrative Lipomas may require surgery and radiation therapy.


Due to the location in the body, this kind of tumor is not so easily removed and radiation therapy may be used either as a sole treatment or alongside surgery.  


  • A tumor in the muscle will feel firm to touch.


As oppose to a tumor that sits just under the skin which will feel soft and moveable, a tumor in the muscle will feel firm and have less range of movement.


  • Can be more painful than a lipoma.


The tumor may negatively impact the muscles causing pain, discomfort and at times, lameness.


  • Fatty tumors may be caused by a buildup of toxins.


Holistic remedies advise that a lipoma is a sign of congestion within the body. A possible source of toxin may be from flea/tick medication so it is advised to avoid harsh chemical mixes when treating your dog.



  • Wounds that won’t heal
  • Lumps or sores in unusual places like the inside of the dog’s mouth or on the nailbed.


If you’ve noticed any weight loss, lethargy, or sudden cough in conjunction with a new lump, it’s best to make an appointment with the veterinarian.

Remember!  Not every lump is cancerous. Fatty tumors in dogs are soft, moveable, and usually benign.

Please follow the link in this quote for a detailed report on cancer in dogs:

“Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs over 10 years, with 50% of older dogs developing the disease and approximately one in four dogs eventually dying from it” 


Topical or oral tick prevention goes a long way, but sometimes those ticks are stubborn. I’ve had to pick a few ticks from my dogs during the summer months, and they almost always leave a lump where they were attached.  It’s usually red where the tick was attached and requires a swipe of disinfectant.

This type of lump is nothing to worry about. However, I recommend making sure the head of the tick is intact when you pull it off and consider having your dog checked for Lyme Disease.


Fatty tumors in dogs are often left alone unless they are hindering the dog’s movement or quality of life in some way. It is important to keep an eye on your pooch so any changes to th size, location or number of masses can be easily noticed. The majority of cases involving these tumors are harmless, however, some cases may require surgery and possibly other treatments.  

There are no vaccinations against fatty tumors in dogs, or a magical cure.  All I needed to hear was that the lump was nothing to be worried about and that was “cure” enough for me.

More in-depth articles regarding the types of cancers dogs are most prone to will be coming soon so please visit again.

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