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What is this disappearing lump?

May 21st, 2006, 05:25 PM
Hi. Six days ago, I noticed a soft, mobile lump on my dog's left side, near his back leg. It was the size of small egg, seemed to be fluid-filled, and did not hurt him or bother him. I brush and pet him often so I knew that the lump appeared very quickly. So, I brought him to the vet the next day and he diagnosed him with a lipoma. I asked him if he would biopsy it and he said that he would prefer to just go ahead and remove the whole thing. We schedule the surgery for the following week (3 days from now).

Two days ago, I felt the lump and it seemed to have decreased in size. I thought that it could be my imagination (wishful thinking) because I was reluctant to let Buddy go under general anesthesia. He is a 4 year old lab-mix and probably wouldn't have any problems with the surgery but I hated the idea anyway. I called the vet and he said to watch the lump and keep him posted. He didn't offer any ideas about what it might be (I was actually talking to his nurse) because I think they were sure I was imagining that it was smaller out of fear of the anesthesia.

Anyway, yesterday, the lump was definitely smaller, about the size of nickle in diameter. It was still very contained and mobile and fluid-filled.

Today, the lump is very small and even difficult to find. It is about the size of a pea.

What is this? I don't think a lipoma can shrink on its own.

What should I do at this point? I'm assuming that he doesn't need the surgery but should we biopsy anything that may be left?

May 21st, 2006, 06:04 PM
Hi Becca, so your vet said its lipoma....
Did your vet explain anything about this to you?
If not I can help a bit...
I'm sure your vet has explained that a Lipoma is a benign fatty lump that is mostly found in older dogs... also overweight female dogs are prone to getting these.
Doberman Pinschers, Schnauzers (miniatures), Labrador Retrievers, and mixed breeds are some of the breeds that are prone to getting a lipoma.
They also may appear in cats or horses, although Im sure right now you don't really care about that, lol.
Lipoma's are usually just under the skin, but they CAN be locally invasive, which means they can be meshed with muscle or connective tissues. They can also have additional blood or connective tissues as part of the growth. The growths can actually appear anywhere on the body but are mosly found on the stomach and upper legs.

Now about the surgery...
If your vet has preformed a needle aspirate and is certain that the bump is Lipoma, most vets actually reccomend a wait and watch approach. The lump should be checked at every visit just to make sure theres no changes. But Larger lumps should be removed ASAP.

The best way to WATCH this lump...
Its sometimes confusing to tell if a lump is actually growing or shrinking... when you are watching the lump for new changes I found this on a website and would like to share it with you...
Take a piece of wax paper and a felt marker
Lay the wax paper over the lump and trace the outher edges of the lump and date the wax paper
Repeat monthly... or weekly if you feel the need.

So yes its possible for them to dissapear.... and most vets don't reccomend surgery...
Good Luck!

May 21st, 2006, 06:07 PM
And if you don't want a surgery ask about a needle aspirate...
because from what I understand this is not cancer...
if you have any more questions just ask away... I'm here...

May 21st, 2006, 06:11 PM
Hi Jess,

Thanks for the reply. I think the advice was great. Here's the thing though....the lump has gotten so much smaller. It really went from the size of a small egg to the size of a pea in about 5 days. Would a lipoma disappear and would it disappear that fast?

Oh, and the vet didn't extract any cells because he seemed so certain that it was a lipoma and didn't want to put him through two procedures when he could just remove it and be done with it and send it to pathology.

I'm thinking that it may not have been a lipoma in the first place because I didn't know they could just disappear...and so fast!

I will certainly call the vet tomorrow to update him and see what he wants to do but I would like other opinions.

Thanks, Becca

May 21st, 2006, 06:24 PM
Hey Becca,
Yes, that is a possibility... that it was something different... but lipoma can also dissapear...
It could have been a histiocytoma... Thats a skin tumor that will usually go away on its own. It occurs at basically any age in a dog but is more common in young dogs (I forgot to ask you how old ur dog is...). These tumors are also benign. Sometimes a dog will get more than one but most dogs seem to get one and when it goes away its usually gone for good.

A Granuloma which is excessive scar tissue, and some fungal lesions can also look like a lump on the skin... but both often go away on their own as well

Hopefully I helped... if you have any more questions... just ask me. :)

May 21st, 2006, 06:35 PM
Hi Jess,

I really appreciate your help. I think I left out some important details. First of all, Buddy is 4 years old (we estimated that this month is his 4th birthday).

Also, the lump is under the skin (doesn't even seem to involve the skin) and doesn't have any opening or ulceration associated with it.

At this point, it's so small that I think it would be very difficult for the vet to find to do a fine needle aspiration. I think I am feeling it at this point but, just a few days ago, you could look at Buddy head on and see it poking out on the side....though it feels pretty far below the skin's surface. It was just causing his side to poke out.

Does that give you any more info?

Thanks so much for your help.

May 21st, 2006, 09:45 PM
Hi Becca,
Sorry, we had some business to attend to and I couldn't answer your post...
Sorry about that. :sorry:
My best guess is that it is lipoma as your doctor suggested in the beginning, because sometimes lipoma does go away on its own... thats my best guess.
And I do have a question... is it possible that the bump is leaking fluid?
Thanks Becca, and good luck :)

May 21st, 2006, 10:32 PM
Hey Jess,

Thanks for taking the time to help me.

I don't know about leaking certainly isn't leaking through the skin...but maybe internally. I really can't tell what's going on. The lump is very small now - I felt it a few minutes ago - and it's pretty deep below the skin. It almost feels like it's on the rib but it clearly is not attached to the rib. Because it's so small now, I have to really massage down to the bone to find it.

I'm so confused because it appeared, grew so large, and is now almost gone - all in about a weeks time!

Still, at this point, it looks like surgery isn't necessary.

Any ideas are welcome!

Thanks again.

May 21st, 2006, 10:38 PM
Hi again Becca, nice to see you again...
Well are you going to chat with your vet tomorrow? Because I'd recommend that for sure.
I still think its lipoma, like your vet said... but I'm not sure. Is there any pain when you touch it, is there any abnormal behavior?

May 22nd, 2006, 10:36 AM
Hey Becca, I tried to PM you but you can't recieve PM's.. I can say it just the same here..
I was just wondering how everything is doing...
Did you talk to your vet,
Has the Lump Decreased in size?
Anything new?
Thanks Becca, and I may not be on until the weekend unless you are on today... so I hope to talk to you later...
:thumbs up good luck