Canine Age Spots And Fatty Masses…Because Even Dogs Show Their Age!

While getting older has its benefits (I love senior citizen’s discounts!), it has some definite downsides. That applies to both humans and our pets. 

I remember seeing age spots, or liver spots, on my grandmother’s hands. Now I am seeing the same thing on the belly of my beloved Mimi, a 13½-year-old Lhasa Apso who is entering her twilight years. The veterinarian told me these spots are caused by a buildup of excess melanin in the skin, and they are harmless. 

Mimi also recently developed several fatty masses on different parts of her body. Once again, like a good pet Mom, I went straight to the vet. Dr. Easu, of Companion Animal Clinic, assured me that these growths are also common in older dogs. This time, though, the doctor’s diagnosis came with both good and not-so-good news. 

First the good. These fatty masses, called lipomas, are very common and are usually benign. They are made up exclusively of fat cells and are located just under the skin anywhere in the body. Only 16% of dogs are affected, and middle-aged to geriatric dogs are most predisposed.

Depending on where the mass is, you may not need to do anything. However, and this is where the not-so-good news comes in, sometimes veterinarians will recommend surgery to remove it. That typically occurs if the lipoma is growing, is in a high motion area, or is bothering the pet. 

Mimi had a few lipomas, one of which was attached to her ribcage. Dr. Easu recommended that it and a few others be removed. Following the surgery, the doctor sent the masses off to the pathologists at Kansas State to determine a definitive diagnosis. Blessedly, they were all benign, non-cancerous.   

Mimi’s recovery was perfect.Mimi wearing her cone during recovery from her fatty mass removal. (See photos). Although the scar was quite upsetting to look at, she was back to herself the day after surgery. To ensure she did not lick the wound or remove the stitches prematurely, Mimi wore a cone. Her stitches were removed 10 days after surgery.  

Another mass has now appeared. I’m not worried, but we will check in again with Dr. Easu in the next 30 days. 

Does your dog have lipomas? They usually feel somewhat squishy, though they can be firmer in texture. Like in Mimi’s case, they may be firmly stuck in place, adhered to the surrounding tissues. Other times, you may be able to move them around to some degree.  

While lipomas and age spots are a normal sign of aging, it’s always a good idea to inform your veterinarian of any changes in your pet’s health or appearance. 

If your pet is recovering from surgery and needs to be watched while you are at work or out of the home, Tender Loving Care Pet Nursing Hotel is the perfect place to bring your pet. We have single suites with bedding and will keep a very close eye on your baby. Our staff administers medications and adhere to doctor’s orders. We have a great Comfort Care Team to make your pet as comfortable and stress free as possible. 

For more information or to reserve one of our guest suites for your fur baby, give us a call at (785) 329-6141 and check out our webpage at where you can fill in your profile and all your pets needs. Request a reservation and we will give you a call!  Thanks for reading our latest blog!

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