How Much Does a Dog Lipoma Removal Cost?

Written by: Staff

A lipoma, according to Dr. Patty Khuly, VMD, MBA, is a very common benign mass made up exclusively of fat cells.

While the majority are located beneath the skin everywhere and anywhere on the body, these fatty masses, in some cases, may develop on the abdomen or chest.

Seeing they are often a benign mass, lipomas are not deemed cancerous, and will not expand to other tissue.  They can, however, over time to become problematic as they can grow larger enough to conflict with the dog’s natural movement.

”I’m Not Crazy About this Dr Office Thin by cogdogblog, on Flickr
”I’m Not Crazy About this Dr Office Thin” (Public Domain) by cogdogblog

Dog lipoma removal surgery cost

The cost of removing a lipoma will greatly depend on the surgical method chosen, the size of the lipoma, the area it’s located, the vet and your geographical location.  To diagnose the lipoma via a fine-needle aspirate, this can often cost anywhere from $35 to $75, and as mentioned, most lipomas will be relatively harmless and a vet will recommend no treatment as long as it is not affecting the dog.  Depending on the circumstances, he or she may also order a radiograph, ultrasound and/or computed tomography to investigate the area more in-depth.

However, as far as treatment options go, a dog owner should be expected to pay anywhere from $250 to $650 per mass to successfully remove it.  In some rare circumstances, a hard-to-reach mass and/or one located in a complex area could cost upwards of $1,000 per mass.  Again, a lipoma should only be removed if it obstructs your dog’s movement.

Dr. Smith on, for instance, stated the cost of the surgical procedure can range anywhere from $350 to $650, and the cost of removing one will depend on the size of the mass, how deep it is, what it is attached to, the age, and health status of your dog.

The extra costs to consider

If you do decide to go forward with a surgical procedure, your vet will more than likely prescribe pain medication, anti-inflammatories and may suggest an Elizabethan collar if they think it is needed.

Identifying the lipoma

A lipoma will normally look haired, somewhat soft and even mobile under the dog’s skin, but as mentioned, it can appear on the abdomen or chest as well.  Most dogs that have lipomas will have multiple lipomas all over the body.  In most cases, to identify the lipoma, a veterinarian will diagnose it via a fine-needle aspirate to retrieve a small number of cells to analyze it.  However, dog owners need to keep in mind that this method is not always accurate as it only takes a small sample, not representing the mass as a whole.  For this very reason, a veterinarian will always ask you to observe the area to see if it changes in shape, size or texture.

What exactly causes lipoma?

The exact cause is not evident, however, it may be linked to hormones, sun exposure, chemical exposure within the environment, viruses, genetics, commonly documented in Cocker Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers or Doberman Pinschers to name a few.

The treatment option

As mentioned, since a fair majority of these lipomas will be harmless, most vets will only recommend surgery if it is big enough to create distress or hinder the dog’s natural movement.  A biopsy, in most cases, will always be performed as a preventative measure to confirm the lipoma is, indeed, harmless to your dog.

If an owner opts for surgery, then the course of treatment will depend on the vet’s choice.  Some will use liposuction, a relatively new procedure, to extract the fatty tissue of the mass, whereas some vets will perform a surgical procedure which will be removed in its entirety.  During a surgical procedure, an incision will be made near the fatty mass and the mass, in its entirety, will be removed, but in some cases, a drain may be inserted to drain any noticeable fluids as the “dead space” created by the mass can often fill with fluid.  This article breaks down the surgical procedure step by step.

In addition to the treatment, regardless of which option is chosen, steroid injections and/or laser therapy may also be used to help limit its re-growth.  Keep in mind that some vets will highly advise against any treatment if your dog is older in age and, again, the mass isn’t causing harm.

As for recovery, the discharge from the hospital may be on the same day, but if the procedure is deemed to be invasive, then an overnight stay could be required to monitor the dog’s progress.

How to prevent lipomas

Mercola always recommends feeding your dog a raw, whole and organic diet to help keep your dog in a good physical condition.  This diet, according to the website, can help support the dog’s metabolism, immune and lymphatic systems, and organs of detoxification.  It’s also best to get into the habit of using natural vitamins and supplements as well.

Pay close attention to your dog’s BMI as pets that are either too thin or overweight are known to develop lipomas.

Consider spoiling your pet with either a massage and/or chiropractic treatments to help with detoxification.

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