This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Fatty tumours are very common and are usually not a serious problem
Cancer is common in dogs and cats and other species. One of the most common forms of cancer is a smooth surfaced, firm, fatty lump called a lipoma - or fat cell tumour. These are frequently seen in older dogs, budgerigars and less commonly in cats. They are often present in animals that are overweight (obese), and frequently there is more than one lipoma present in an individual.
The more common, benign, lipomas are usually harmless, even though they can grow to be very large, heavy masses. They can form at any site, but they are mainly found under the skin. If they do grow to be very large they can put pressure on local organs, or interfere with walking, so most veterinarians advise surgical removal. Surgical removal is also usually advised if the growth appears to grow quickly, so owners should regularly measure masses to check for sudden growth spurts.
Fatty tumours are nearly always benign (called lipoma), but just occasionally a malignant variant (called liposarcoma) does occur . These are more serious because they can spread locally, and can be more difficult to treat successfully. For this reason all unusual lumps, bumps and growths that are found my an owner should be examined by a veterinarian soon after they appear.
Updated October 2013