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dbg10 May 17th, 2008 05:49 PM

Giant Lipoma
I joined today for the first time and have two questions to ask that I will post separately. I have an 11 year old female English Springer Spaniel named Pepper, who I adopted 2+ years ago from a shelter. She is in my avatar. Unlike most shelter pets she was an owner surrender due to the fact he was going into a nursing home. When she arrived we found that she had lumps in several locations on her body that had been diagnosed as Lipomas. My vet agreed with this diagnosis and told me that they shouldn't cause a problem and they were common in some dogs.

One of the lipomas is behind her right shoulder and has grown very large. She has been examined by my vet on several occasions and each time we have discussed surgery. This particular lipoma has now grown to the size of a soccer ball and still appears to have no malignancy involved. My vet has had a lot of experience removing Lipomas but she is very reluctant to operate on Pepper because of the potential for bleeding post-op. She is afraid that with the size of this one, Pepper will bleed to death during surgery. The largest one that my vet has removed is about the size of a softball and she says she has never seen one that is as big as the one Pepper has.

Does anyone have any experience with a giant lipoma, what course of action was taken, how did your pet do after surgery. I did find one post here in the forum about a Giant Lipoma and the surgery, and if you refer to the pictures in that post, Pepper's is very similar. (I can't post URL's yet).

At the moment my vet is saying no to surgery but she is really on the fence about it. She has now decided that I need to bring Pepper in every 4 weeks to check it and knowing my vet the way I do after 17 years of caring for my pets, I think she will decide to operate (with my permission of course) after seeing Pepper a few more times. I don't want to lose Pepper, but this "lump" is getting way out of control and will impede her movement before too long, I expect.

Thanks for any information! :)

Dr Lee May 17th, 2008 06:24 PM

Welcome to the forum!

I believe that there was a post last year that was similar to this - somewhere on here.

The largest one I have removed was an 8 pound basketball sized lipoma. The dog was a golden retriever that was about 11 years old. The lipoma was so large it was 50% the thickness of her hind end. The owner decided on surgery because the poor dog kept falling over due to the weight. The dog did fantastic. I have not ever had problems with excess bleeding with lipomas. Even without the use of a laser, typically they can do very well. (the 8lb one was done without the use of a laser).

Lipomas are benign fatty tumors. When you look at them they are almost all fat with very little blood supply. In fact if during surgery, large blood supplies are found, then the concern of malignancy would be raised. The largest complication I have had with giant lipomas is closing the space that the lipoma once filled. It takes a lot of time, often removal of excess skin and for giant lipomas, the addition of penrose drains.

As with all major surgeries, platelet count, protein level and bleeding times should be done preoperatively.

You said the tumor was behind (caudal) to the shoulder? Not under the arm pit correct? Under the armpit is a much more difficult surgical area. If the mass is behind the shoulder where the ribs are - this is actually a fairly good surgical area. Post operative exercise restriction can help with minimizing post operative swelling and drainage.

To date, I have never had excess bleeding issues with giant lipoma removals. Of course every case is different. If your vet and you are concerned about the surgery, then perhaps consultation with a local surgical specialist may help. :pawprint:

dbg10 May 17th, 2008 09:16 PM

Thanks so much for answering Dr Lee. I found that post you refer to and was very interested in your response to it - that is actually the reason I decided to finally join and ask about it.
The link to the other post you mentioned is:
and from the pics I see there the last picture at the bottom is almost identical to the position of the mass in January of this year and it now has dropped down so that the top of it is about 4 inches lower exposing a normal curve from her spine. It is growing quite rapidly now but my vet saw her yesterday and felt that it was still all lipoma.
If I was able to post some pics I would take them and post them but I think at present because I am new I can't post attachments. I will see about taking a few and posting them on my website with a link to them.
Unfortunately at the moment Pepper is suffering from an injury that occurred last Sunday when I fell on her and may not be too co-operative with pictures being taken. However, I will find a way to post some.
thanks again!!

Dr Lee May 17th, 2008 09:50 PM


If you would like you can also PM the pictures to me here or directly to my email address (I can give to you). Then I can look at them and also post them on here for you and everyone else to see. I cannot PM you - I wonder if that is the reason you are having problems loading pictures. Perhaps someone else that understands the computer stuff better than I can help out. I usually just click on the button 'manage attachments' just below this box and I am able to place pictures in. :pawprint:

dbg10 May 17th, 2008 10:32 PM

Thank-you Dr Lee, unfortunately I haven't got an IM program active at the moment and it would take me longer to install and get it ready to use than posting them on my website. I posted them here:
[URL=""]Pepper[/URL] and hope they are enough for you to see.

She was not at all co-operative because she is trying to avoid me when I am standing because of my fall on her and every time I went to take a picture she got up and walked away or just gave me dirty looks. She wouldn't stay standing long enough to take one of her standing but maybe I can get more later.

I think you can probably save the pictures I took to your hard drive so that you can study them.
I really appreciate this, you have no idea how much!

thanks again :)

BTW I think the reason I can't post them by attachment is the restriction because I am new here. Maybe soon I will be able to use it after more posts.

Dr Lee May 18th, 2008 12:15 AM

Pictures show up nicely. That is indeed a large or 'giant' lipoma. Assuming that she is in otherwise good health, that should still be removable. With the concern of your veterinarian in mind, do you have a surgical specialist in your area?

dbg10 May 18th, 2008 02:01 AM

Thank-you so much! I took some more pictures tonight when she was lying on her side. They show more of the location and size of the Lipoma and when I was trying to feel her armpit I found it difficult to get my hand between the mass and her arm. Usually when she is feeling fine she rolls on her back but right now she isn't doing that. If I remember correctly from the last time she was on her back (I wasn't looking for the location of the mass at the time) her arm appears to be beside the mass but it is hard to tell if it might originate in her armpit. However, it would have to be small because she walks normally even with the huge mass. I will add the pictures to my website tomorrow as it is late here and I am sure you have signed off for the night.

The Canadian Veterinary College is about 100 miles from me and I know there are surgeons closer because my previous dog had several surgeries of different kinds including one laser surgery, before she passed away at 14 1/2. My vet has offered to send Pepper for a surgical consult because I know she doesn't have a laser in her practice and this may be why she is apprehensive about the bleeding.

Thanks again I will upload the rest of the pictures tomorrow and would appreciate any feedback if you have time to review them. I appreciate all of the help you have given me already, it is wonderful! :D
:thumbs up

Love4himies May 18th, 2008 09:31 AM

Sorry to hear about your dog. Hope all works out for you. :fingerscr

Isn't Dr Lee the best :lovestruck:

dbg10 May 18th, 2008 04:43 PM

Nice to meet you Love4himmies :) Yes Dr Lee is just fabulous! :angel: I never expected to hear from the experts when I posted :D

Dr Lee I said I would upload more pictures today but for some reason the card I saved the pictures on was damaged when I went to upload them. I will try to take some more if you think they would help you in any way, but it appears to me from what you said that you don't really need any more pictures. My only question now would be if there is a possiblity it is in her armpit.

As I said she came to me when she was 9 years old through a shelter, but I did get her directly from the family who had her since birth. For some reason her tail was never docked and her eyes droop and my vet tells me these are usually fixed/done shortly after birth. I know that she was adopted from an unknown breeder by the wife who died shortly after Pepper came to live with them and this may be the reason. Otherwise her health is good and the only medication she is on is UbaVet which is a glucosamine mixture I get from my vet and the Previcox at the moment. She does have a lot of ear infections, but my vet says this is normal for a Springer.

I really appreciate all the help you have given me above you are an :angel:

chico2 May 18th, 2008 04:56 PM

dbg,wow,that looks huge:yell:hopefully it can be removed safely,she would feel so much better:pray:
I agree about Dr Lee,it's great he visits us ever now and then,with some expert advice:thumbs up

Dr Lee May 18th, 2008 07:50 PM

Love4himies, dbg10, and chico2,

Stop you guys! :flirt: You are making my doggies jealous!

It is a true pleasure to be on this website. It is wonderful to be able to interact with so many terrific pet owners. I love all you guys!:pawprint:

Dr Lee May 18th, 2008 07:55 PM

[QUOTE=dbg10;594441]...I was trying to feel her armpit I found it difficult to get my hand between the mass and her arm.[/QUOTE]


I didn't mean to worry you about this. I was wondering the placement due to the veterinarian's concern of surgery and the fact that I had not seen the pictures at that time. Since the lipoma is not 'mainly' under the armpit (if at all) is great - what I was previously concerned about, does not really apply with your case - so just ignore what I had asked previously. Sorry if I caused any concerns! :pawprint:

dbg10 May 18th, 2008 09:20 PM

Thanks for your caring thoughts chico2 and yes it is huge and getting bigger all the time. I have considered making her a sling to hold it up. :)

Thanks Dr Lee, I appreciate you easing my worries. I actually didn't think it was in her armpit because she can walk normally and jumps up on her hind legs to get to food on the counter, so far anyway. If it was in her armpit I would expect her to only be able to walk on 3 legs and certainly not able to stand on her hind legs.

I expect my vet is concerned because she does not have a laser as far as I know. When my last lovely lady needed surgery at the age of 12 1/2 she sent us to a specialist for laser surgery. I still think she may be reluctant just for that reason, and why she is so concerned about the bleeding. It is a very large mass as you can see and when it is removed it would be a very large area to control bleeding. (I was an RN before I retired so I'm well aware of the possiblity for bleeding). I know if I ask her to send us to a surgeon, she will do it but she also recognizes the costs involved and knows I am on a fixed income. (she's always looking out for me as well as my pets ) :)

I intend to give her all the information you have given me and the links to this and the other discussion here on Giant Lipoma's and see what she thinks. She is familiar with Lipomas but has not removed one larger than a grapefruit.

Thank-you again, please give your doggies a hug for me :thumbs up

Frenchy May 19th, 2008 12:50 PM

Good luck with the operation , if I may give you a little suggestion : I give my guys some liver before and after surgery , it helps them with blood loss that can happen during operations.

dbg10 May 19th, 2008 03:46 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Here are the pictures of Pepper's lipoma. I can now post attachments so I wanted to post them here so they don't get lost.

dbg10 May 19th, 2008 03:52 PM

2 Attachment(s)
a few more - thanks for looking at them and a big thanks to Dr Lee! :thumbs up

chico2 May 19th, 2008 04:57 PM

OMG,poor Pepper,that is huge,I've never seen anythng like that,these pics show it much better.
I don't suppose surgery has been booked yet,but you know,we will be here and comfort you and Pepper when it takes place,we will all be thinking of Pepper and you:pray:

dbg10 May 19th, 2008 08:45 PM

Thanks Frenchy and chico2 I appreciate the advice and the good wishes. Believe it or not those are the same pics that were on my website just appear larger here. Also Pepper doesn't seem to know it is there as she is now feeling better from her shock of having me fall on her last week and jumped up on the kitchen counter today to check out the food that was being prepared. It amazes me how active she is especially where food and treats are concerned.:)

My vet is off for the long weekend and I will have to talk to her before getting a referral to a surgeon. I expect she will want her fully recovered from the shock of last week, before sending her to a surgeon, so it may be awhile before we go. Pepper is scheduled to see her in 3 weeks and unless there is a drastic change in her condition I probably won't take her in early. My thinking is that it took 2 years for it to get this big, it probably won't increase too much in the next 3 weeks. Right now she is still a little stiff at times, and as soon as I stand up she gets up and moves away so she is still afraid that I will fall on her again.

I am anxious to discuss what Dr Lee said with my vet, but I don't want to scare poor Pepper any more than she is at the moment. She allowed me to take the pictures you see very reluctantly and that is why her eyes are drooping so much. When she is smiling, you don't see the droop, but when she is scared or sad they look very bad.

I appreciate the fact that you all will be here to support us through the hard times and that is more than I can ask. I will keep you posted on what is happening. I hope I am able to return the favour sometime though I don't wish any health problems on any of your families :eek:
Thanks for your prayers! :)

meg4050 May 19th, 2008 09:00 PM

Dbg, Pepper is gorgeous :lovestruck:

While Barkley (my Springer) has never had any limpomas that size, he did have one in the same place as Pepper, as well as beneath his armpit. They were large enough to cause him trouble when running and playing so we decided to have them removed, and he came out of the surgery just fine! :thumbs up

You're right about the ear infections, they are quite common in Springers - more so when they swim a lot.

:fingerscr:goodvibes: for Pepper!

dbg10 May 19th, 2008 09:34 PM

Thanks meg4050, she is a very nice looking puppy and it is the first time I've had an ESS. My previous dogs were a Golden Retriever and a beautiful lab/shepherd/collie mix. I love Pepper's personality and from what I read and hear she is typical of the breed. Is Barkely male or female? black or brown?
I bet Barkely is beautiful too. :)

meg4050 May 19th, 2008 09:39 PM

1 Attachment(s)
They do have pretty awesome personalities :) Barkley is my second Springer, we had a brown and white named Candy before him. Barkley is brown and white as well! Here's a pic..from you're avatar they look pretty similar in the face!

meg4050 May 19th, 2008 09:40 PM

:o Sorry, I didn't think it would be that big!

dbg10 May 19th, 2008 10:20 PM

WOW do they ever look alike! Pepper was due to go to the groomer last week but missed it because of my fall. She looks just like him when she is all clean and prettied up :) I'll try and take a pic of her tomorrow when she's not tired and post it in another thread for you to see. He is beautiful!

meg4050 May 19th, 2008 10:24 PM

I still think they look awfully cute between groomings when they're all scruffy :cloud9:

meg4050 May 19th, 2008 10:25 PM

[QUOTE=dbg10;595133]WOW do they ever look alike! Pepper was due to go to the groomer last week but missed it because of my fall. She looks just like him when she is all clean and prettied up :) I'll try and take a pic of her tomorrow when she's not tired and post it in another thread for you to see.[/QUOTE]

I'll hold you to that ;) There are lots of Barkley on the site if you look hard enough :laughing:

dbg10 May 20th, 2008 08:07 PM

[QUOTE=meg4050;595135]I still think they look awfully cute between groomings when they're all scruffy :cloud9:[/QUOTE]

LOL I think they look cute anytime even when covered in mud :D

She wasn't up for a picture today. When I picked up the camera she left the room and I knew I would get another "if looks could kill" if I went ahead with the picture. So maybe tomorrow she'll be in the mood :) She must be having a bad hair day...:laughing:

dbg10 June 15th, 2008 04:12 PM

To bring everyone uptodate about the Lipoma. First of all I don't think I gave Pepper's history. I adopted her from a man who was going into a retirement home in Feb 2006. His sons had listed her with a local shelter so despite the fact she was never in the shelter, I met the owner of the shelter when I paid for her. I have kept in touch with the original owner's sons who are the ones who brought her over when I adopted her. In this way I have all her medical history and know that the 'lump' was diagnosed by Pepper's previous vet as a Lipoma, as well as my vet. The Lipoma was large when I got her but was not as visible because it didn't stick out the way it does now.

History over.... The shelter I got her through is at Petsmart on Saturday afternoons. so I also saw the owner of the shelter when I went there to buy her new water bowl yesterday. She gave me the name of a vet who is actually a horse vet, but does small animals as well . She is in a small town north of here and does laser surgery at a more reasonable price than a specialist would. Apparently she does all the work for the shelter's animals and may be willing to remove Pepper's Lipoma.

I am very excited to hear this because if the vet does all the work for the shelter, she is obviously very good. I intend to discuss it with my vet next week.

Keep your fingers crossed for Pepper, that she will agree to operate on the Lipoma.... :thumbs up

chico2 June 15th, 2008 05:01 PM

Oh,I remember Pepper,hope all goes well and she can have that awful Lipoma removed safely:pray:

dbg10 June 15th, 2008 05:57 PM

Thanks Chico2 I'll keep everyone in the loop when anything new happens. :thumbs up

loopoo June 15th, 2008 08:58 PM

pepper is beautiful:lovestruck:and i hope all goes well with the surgery if she can have it:goodvibes::fingerscr

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