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Fatty Lumps

Discussion in 'Diseases & Illnesses' started by k9kreationz, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Miko is now 11.5 years old. About 3 years ago, I noticed a large lump on his left side (ribs area). It was about 4" in diameter. At the time, my vet (vet A) said it could be fatty tissue which isn't threatening, or could be much more. We can either wait and see, or do surgery and remove it and send it to the lab. So, I went with surgery. I figured he was 8, he was okay to go under. It was removed, nothing cancerous. It was just fatty deposits. Yay.

    Now, 3 years later, I had found lumps on his chest (at the pointest part). The vet (vet B) said if it's not bothering him, to leave it be. That surgery should be the last resort. He also took a "biopsy". Since he didn't cut any skin, I'm not sure how he got it. I was also told by someone else, they extract some via syringe. Ouch! Anyhow, vet said it was fatty tissue, nothing to worry about. Well, that was somewhat recent. I've always thought Miko was a bit chunky, but yet, his hip bones would stick out. I finally felt around and found that he's got more lumps. The one on the left flank is coming back. It seems like the fatty tissue is completely covering his rib area (no other areas).

    I'm concerned. I haven't called the vet yet, thought I'd post here. I was told it's common in Shelties. I don't want to put him under, but how do I know if it's causing him discomfort? He's already creeky when he gets up (after lying down for long periods of time). What is old age versus fatty tissue bothering him? Sigh.

    On the upside, he had two cysts that went away after changing his dog food to TOTW/EVO. Very weird. On the downside, Koji at 2 years has a cyst on his leg that he bites at. My dogs have issues. And i thought I was falling apart. hehehe.

    Any thoughts on the issue? I'm going to make an appointment, but I don't think it's a rush/emergency of any sort. I'm just concerned about my baby. I'm sure you all know that feeling.
  2. Mally's Mom

    Mally's Mom Premium Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    I am hoping one of the vets here on the sheltie forums can answer your questions. Thanking them in advance.
  3. Ann

    Ann Moderator

    Feb 25, 2008
    Western Connecticut
    We've had a number of Shelties as they get older with fatty tumors just like you've described. The vet can aspirate them to see if they need further investigation, which is likely what yours has done. In all the cases, unless it bothers the dog or gets too big, we've left them alone and they don't cause a problem. Your vet is right about that. If he finds they are questionable (we've had a few of those too) the vet will recommend removal and biopsy. But if he's sure it's a fatty tumor, you are fine to just leave them be.
  4. laciegirl

    laciegirl Forums Novice

    Dec 30, 2009
    In response to the above, we have 2 eleven year old golden retrievers as well as our sheltie, and they both have fatty lumps. The male retriever also has sebaceous cysts that have ruptured and have to be removed. The vet has said what your vets have said and that is to leave the fatty lumps alone unless they cause pain. I think you're doing the right thing.
  5. Lahree

    Lahree Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 15, 2008
    North Texas
    Unfortunately, I am an expert in Sheltie fatty tumors. Both my former Shelties had them.

    Honey didn't get any until she was about 12-- she lived until she was almost 15. We had one really large one removed on the inside of her hind leg because it was obviously bugging her.

    Jazz had them very early on in his life. Everywhere. He had to have a huge one removed near his, uhhhhhhhhhh, "Maleness" because it was impeding his urination at about age 8. He had another very large one removed from his ribs directly behind his left front leg because it got so large it impeded the movement of his leg. Unfortunately, he only had it off for about a week before he died at age 13.

    You vet do doubt took a needle biopsy to see if the cells from the cyst were fat. They generally will not remove them because they aren't dangerous and they just grow back or in multiple sites. The only time I think a vet would recommend removing them is if the are restricting movement or function of the dog.

    I know it's really, really weird feeling bumps and lumps all over your dog. :no: Those two dog were from the same breeder (although 15 years apart!!) and were related to each other. I asked Ellie's breeder about any tendency in her line to have fatty tumors and she said that she hasn't had nary a one in any of her dogs.

    I hope I am done with fatty tumors. I still am lucky enough to have had three dogs in a row with bad teeth. :mad: Having to deal with another dog with fatty tumors would have been a real downer.
  6. SheepOfBlue

    SheepOfBlue Premium Member

    Oct 15, 2009
    Had one on me. The Dr said they are not really sure what causes them but they suspect it might be injury related (my case I had crashed that shoulder hard) They sliced me open and took a rather large hunk out and I have dent there still :eek2: but otherwise little harm (and they got a bit of muscle due to the size). I was told the same thing that you were, I had it removed when it started making my arm numb :dead:
  7. Justicemom

    Justicemom Premium Member

    Oct 2, 2009
    Fatty lumps are very common in shelties and labs. They are really hard to remove completely as they can be under and around muscles and other tissue such as vessels. Usually they don't bother the dog and can left alone. If it is an area were it is interfering with movement, keeping the dog from laying comfortable or growing bigger(how big is too big depends on location), they can be removed or debulked. If the dog is overweight andthey lose weight sometimes they get smaller.

    My dog Jazz had one on the point of her sternum about a 1in in diameter. I found it when she was 9yrs and she lived to almost 15yrs and it really didn't get much bigger. But keep in mind, some of these fatty lumps can get really big and the bigger the lump is the harder it is to remove. Don't wait until its the size of a basketball. I consider anything standing off bigger then my fist a possible canidate for removal. Consult with your vet on the time for removal. :smile2:
  8. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Portland, OR
    I never thought about that. Miko and Koji are from the same line and do have a "parent" in common (Miko's dad is Koji's great-grandpa). I should ask my breeder.
  9. k9kreationz

    k9kreationz Premium Member

    Oct 24, 2008
    Portland, OR
    Thanks for all the replies. I get worried because there's so many more within a short period of time.

    How do you know when it's restricting movement or causing issues to the dog? Miko seems to be okay. This is what makes it hard to figure out. Sometimes, he's slow. Sometimes he seems achy. But then, other times, he's playing and chasing Koji around and doesnt' seem to have any issues whatsoever.

    I am assuming they aren't impeding movement, otherwise, he couldn't play comfortably. I am assuming his achiness is from old age, because typically that happens only when he first gets up. He also seems to lie down slower (reminds me of when I try to squat at times, lol). And he has problems sometimes scratching at his ear area with his hind leg. I feel so bad for him.

    I will make a vet appt, just so the vet can determine if they're all just fat and nothing more to be concerned about, AND so he can determine if Miko is suffering from any of them (especially the larger one on his flank/rib).

    Thanks everyone.
  10. SheltieGuy

    SheltieGuy Forums Enthusiast

    Dec 27, 2009
    Schuylkill County, PA
    In my family we have had a total of 8 shelties. Everyone of them had fatty tumors as they grew older. The vets always said there was nothing to worry about unless it hinders the dogs from doing things or if it kept growing. (of course you need to get every one of them checked out to make sure thats all they are).
    I also recently found out that the cheaper grainy corny foods contribute to the fatty tumors.

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