Many times dog lovers will arrive in my hospital and point out that their canine companion has a bump. This one is soft, kind of like very firm jello. “Doesn’t seem to be causing any pain,” they say.
Hm. Well, it could be a “fatty” tumor. This is simply a tumor made out of fat. Yes, a big glob of fat, the same stuff that makes us chubby.
Some clients have used natural means to help their dogs with these tumors. I have had my clients say they have had luck with curcumin given by mouth. Curcumin is a part of the spice turmeric. In The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, I wrote about this bioflavonoid. It can be purchased as an ingredient in Apocaps, and also by itself as a sole agent.
Many dog lovers have heard of the fatty tumors, and have been told by their vets that there is nothing to worry about. And many times, they are right.
Not every time, though.
Here’s why: first of all, not every soft tumor is a “fatty” tumor. Remember mast cell tumors, the Great Imitators? Some mast cell tumors are aggressive, life-threatening cancers. And they can feel just like a benign fatty tumor.
Your vet can differentiate between a fatty tumor and a mast cell tumor with a simple fine needle aspirate, an easy, outpatient procedure where the vet takes a sample with a needle and sends it to a pathologist. Many of us will review the slide right in house.
Another soft gooshy tumor, especially on the limbs, in called a hemangiopericytoma. This is an unfriendly tumor, folks.
Secondly, not every tumor made out of fat is truly benign. Most are, and they are called lipomas. However, a small portion of them grow aggressively. They invade into surrounding tissue. They often grow fairly quickly, over months, and expand. These are called liposarcomas.
The reason it matters is that they can become quite large. And you remove them and they will often regrow, since they are difficult to remove. You think you got ‘em, and they come back.
Take home message: if you have a rapidly growing, fatty tumor, get it out. You might be dealing with a liposarcoma, and they can be tough. Have the vet biopsy the edge, and make sure they include adjacent muscle, or the path folks may complain they don’t have enough data to make a call…
Best to all,