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LennyDVM
LennyDVM, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 548
Experience:  30 years as owner of a mobile practice treating dogs, cats, horses and other pets.
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do you recommend surgery for a very large lipoma on the flank

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do you recommend surgery for a very large lipoma on the flank of a 10 year old dog (mixed breed foxhound) The tumor has been aspirated and showed noncancerous. He is overweight by about 5-10 pounds and weighs 63 pounds. Otherwise in good health and he has had ACL tear that has repaired itself with out surgery,

The simple answer is no, I would not recommend surgery on a lipoma on the flank. It is not in an area that will interfere with movement and the tumor is not malignant. Removing a large lipoma involves significant surgery and recovery time. The benefits (cosmetic only and the dog doesn't care) do not outweigh the risks (anesthesia, extensive surgery, infection, pain, surgical site breakdown).

 

Let me know if you have follow up questions.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
does the weight of the tumor place a health risk to his bones. Is he more likely to get arthritis? He is short of breath when walking just a half mile. Is this related to the lipoma or to his age in general?

How much do you think the tumor weights. Large lipomas rarely weigh more than a couple pounds. Fat isn't very dense or heavy. It would have to be extremely large (basketball size or larger) to make the benefit of removal outweigh risks.

 

It will not increase the risk of arthritis. At 10, he may well have some arthritis.

 

Reducing 5 (over)weight pounds would be more beneficial than removing the tumor. This can be done by decreasing intake by 10-20% and cutting out snacks.

 

He should not be short of breath and this is not related to a lipoma on the flank. If he has not been walking half a mile regularly, he may be out of shape and the extra body weight doesn't help. However, I'd be concerned about a heart or respiratory problem assuming it isn't hot and humid where you are. Has the vet listened to his heart and lungs? Does he breathe with effort at rest? Does he wheeze? A chest x'ray might be indicated if respiratory problems are suspected.

 

 

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks for your advice on avoiding surgery, I am so glad to hear your response because people at the "bark park" seem to think I am being neglectful by not having it removed. To my knowledge his heart and lungs are ok, no wheezing ever and breathing is normal at rest,. no murmer ever heard and he passed all his pre-op blood test when I was considering having his ACL repaired. Since that seems to have repaired it self I will take your advice on weight reduction and gradually increase his activity. This is very good to hear because he is a wonderful pet and your adivice is like getting a new lease on his life. I feared surgery and you have put my mind at peace. Thank you from me and from "MR. BO JANGLES", too. He just sighed a huge sigh of relief. :)
You are welcome and my best to Mr Bo Jangle and you.