Lipomas in Pets: Symptoms, Treatment, & Prevention

Lipomas are small lumps that can form under your pet’s skin. Finding a lump on your pet may be frightening, but not all of them are cause for serious concern.

Yes, lipomas are tumors, but as you may know, some tumors are benign. Still, if you find a lump on your pet, report it to your vet as soon as physically possible. You don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your precious furry friend. So, it pays to stay informed about potential health risks.

Here we explain the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of lipomas:

Lipoma Symptoms to Watch Out For

If your pet has a lipoma, there will be indications, and you can learn how to detect these. After all, the earlier you detect a dangerous tumor, the sooner you can do something about it and prevent your sweet pet from suffering unnecessarily.

The reason you need to report a lipoma or a lump or bump when you spot it is because you cannot tell just by feeling the lump if it is benign or not. You do not want to take any risks when it comes to your pet, so make sure to take the proper precautions and inform your vet as soon as possible so that a proper test can be performed.

So what exactly are lipomas?

Lipomas are fatty growths under your pet’s skin. You will most likely know your pet has one whenever you’re petting or cuddling, grooming them, and scratching/cleaning behind their ears.

If you do notice a small bump, lump or mass, then you should take a moment to check it out. It may be a tick, a tick bite or some benign skin condition.

To prevent tick bites, the Seresto Flea and Tick Collar is worn just like a normal collar, while providing continuous protection against fleas and ticks for a staggering 8 months! Furthermore, here you can read about effective products for flea and tick control.

If it’s not a tick bite, it could be just a piece of dirt or rock that made its way into your pet’s fur. If you look at the area that is affected and do not see anything above the skin, but you definitely feel a lump under the skin, then, unfortunately, there is a good chance that you have discovered a lipoma.

A lipoma is a fatty tissue growth, so it should be soft to the touch and moveable. You do not need to squeeze it hard or do anything else to cause your pet discomfort or pain. Simply, inspect the area that you suspect the lipoma is in and verify that it is not something else.

If the lipoma is dangerous, you may notice symptoms in your pet before you notice the fatty growth:

  • Lethargic or have less energy than usual
  • Sickly or otherwise unwell
  • Weight loss

If you cannot determine a reason for the health problems that your pet is experiencing, then you should contact a veterinarian to have your pet examined as soon as you can.

How Lipomas Are Treated

The first thing your vet will do with a lipoma is inspect to see if it is dangerous or not. This is a simple procedure, and it involves the vet sticking a needle into the growth, then sending it to a lab for testing.

Most of the time, the results come back negative and the lipoma is considered benign. It’s actually quite rare for pets to experience a dangerous lipoma. If your vet discovers multiple lipomas, these require constant monitoring for signs of growth or change. It’s the dangerous ones that tend to change shape and size over time, while the benign ones never amount to much.

Some lipomas can significantly grow in size, but that doesn’t always indicate a serious problem or the presence of cancer. On some occasions, a lipoma is surgically removed or treated with chemotherapy to get rid of it. The sooner a lipoma mass is detected and treated, the lower the risk to your pet will be.

Even benign tumors may need to be removed at times if they become too large or uncomfortable for your pet. In many cases, however, it won’t be worth it to remove the tumor. Most of the time, they’re too small for the removal to be necessary. The tumor may go away on its own or may simply stay there and be unnoticeable to your pet.

The good news is there are resources you can use to find out what kind of health risks your pet is susceptible to and what you can do to minimize those risks. If you take your time to research your pet, you can prevent numerous health problems before they ever occur. It’ll help you not worry about minor things when you realize they are not serious issues for your particular pet.

How to Prevent Lipomas

Lipomas are most common in older pets, and your pet may develop a few of them over time as a result of a few different factors. Dogs are much more likely to develop them than cats are, and Labradors, in particular, are prone to lipomas.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information to share on how to prevent lipomas, though, because it’s not precisely known what causes them.


We do know that overweight pets are at a higher risk of lipomas and that the condition is also more severe for overweight pets. This is because lipomas can grow large enough to impede their ability to walk or move with ease. However, though obesity predisposes pets to lipomas, it does not necessarily cause them.


It is possible that poor dieting and a lack of exercise can cause lipoma growth since they are fatty tissue growths. Healthy living will cut down on the amount of fat in the body, but even in healthy pets, lipomas will still develop.

You should always check that your pet eats well and is staying at a nominal weight anyway. Make sure their food is free from artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives, like the Natural Balance range for cats.

Formulated by animal nutritionists, Bayou Blend is also a good food option for both dogs and cats. It provides an optimal blend of protein, fat and healthy complex carbohydrates for a meal that’s inspired nutritionally complete to keep your friend fighting fit.

If you’re stuck for pet food inspiration, why not try these 7 fun and simple pet-friendly recipes?


You can also check for lipomas every so often, by patting your pet down, rubbing its belly and performing a manual and visual inspection. This won’t prevent the growth of lipomas, but it will help you catch them before they become a serious problem.

Remember that even benign lipomas can be an issue for some pets, hindering their ability to move freely. You can help out your pet by catching the problem as early as possible and ensuring that it does not get out of hand.

Wrap up

If your pet has a lipoma, there will be indications as mentioned above which you can train yourself to look out for. Make sure your pet has a healthy diet suited to their age and breed, but that you also regularly groom and pat your pet to check for any lumps and bumps. The earlier you discover a tumor, the bigger the likelihood that you’ll have nothing to worry about at all.

About the Author
Emma is a popular pet-blogger and a pet-parent to two four-legged friends. She enjoys sharing her knowledge of pet-health, pet behavior, and pet training.


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