14 year old lab mix with giant lipoma
Our nearly 14 year old female lab mix has a huge lipoma on the side of her chest. It does not seem to bother her or interfere with her movement - although she does not like it to be touched - but this grapefruit sized tumor continues to grow, and is definitely a bit bigger now than it was at this time a year ago. Our vets want her operated on immediately. They fear the lipoma will outgrow its blood supply, leading to tissue death and rupture.
Over the years, the vets have performed fine needle aspirates of the lipoma, which they consistently describe as a benign fatty deposit. Today, however, the vets were quite disturbed by its size, and they recommended a biopsy to make sure it hadn't turned cancerous and then a surgical procedure to remove the massive growth entirely. Their fear was that the lipoma would rupture, and that as a result we would be forced to put our dog to sleep. Due to its size, the lipoma would be tricky to remove. It is likely that it has grown into the surrounding muscles and tissue. The vets said they were not qualified to handle a procedure of this scale. They recommended that we travel the five hours to a University's vet clinic where they would perform the procedure and the monitoring of our pet.
Obviously, we are quite concerned about all of this. I am reluctant to the idea of surgery itself, particularly with such an old dog. Beyond the surgery and the anesthesia and any complications that might arise, we're also concerned about her recovery. Would she be more comfortable without this procedure? Is it actually necessary? Or would she simply not even survive it?
In all of my research, I have yet to hear that a lipoma could rupture. From what I've read, surgery should only be considered if the dog's movement is hindered, which it is not in our case, and that otherwise a dog is just fine with these kinds of bumps. Of course, her bump is quite big and it concerns us still.
Thank you for your help.