Why Does My Dog Have a Lipoma?

Posted on December 1st, 2014

Lipomas are fatty deposits that are classified as non-malignant tumors. They may occur in a number of different regions of your dog’s body. They may appear as a fairly well defined mass that are usually soft and freely movable. If the lipoma occurs beneath and between muscle fascia, it may feel hard and not freely movable, just because of the nature of the connective tissue surrounding the muscle.

It is important for your veterinarian to check any and all lipomas, to make sure they are not some other type of detrimental tumor. If there are any questions as to how to identify a mass, the Pet Health Network recommends the following:

  • Needle aspirate
  • Microscope evaluation of the cells taken by the needle aspirate
  • Biopsy of the mass
  • Surgical excision may also be necessary if the lipoma is in a location that impedes the movement of your dog.

Unfortunately surgical excision may be risky in an older dog, mainly because of the anesthetic. The cause of lipomas still seems to be a mystery, however there is an answer.

In my clinical experience, I have found that there is a genetic predisposition for the development of lipomas, which can occur in many different breeds of dog. Lipomas seem to occur mainly in older canines, due to the development of endocrine immune (hormone antibody) imbalances. These endocrine immune imbalances may be genetic and/or acquired as your dog begins to mature.

This imbalance can be easily identified with an endocrine immune blood test, which will certainly be an alternative to an anesthetic and surgery. The imbalance comes from a decreased production of thyroid hormones. The decrease in thyroid hormone may happen because of different reasons, including:

  • An aging process that slows down the production of thyroid hormones.
  • A thyroid tumor.
  • The production of an INACTIVE cortisol, which will lead to an elevated total estrogen. The elevated estrogen will bind the receptor sites for T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxin). When this happens, the T3 and T4 hormones will not be available for use in the body of your dog. The feeding of raw vegetables in the cruciferous family of vegetables can cause problems. The cruciferous family of vegetables, includes the following:
    • Kale
    • Cauliflower
    • Broccoli
    • Cabbage
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Cress
    • Bok Choy

When any of these vegetables are fed raw, they will bind iodine, which in turn, will reduce the amino acid tyrosine, which is necessary for the production of T3 and T4. NOTE: These are all healthy vegetables that need to be steamed before eaten or fed. This includes humans also.

Merely testing your dog’s T3 and T4 may not be enough if the middle layer adrenal cortex has aged along with your dog’s thyroid hormones. The elevated adrenal estrogen that is produced will cause an estrogenic binding of T3 and T4 receptor sites and create a state of hypothyroidism with the development of lipomas.

Yes, there is a reason why your dog has developed a lipoma!

If you would like to help stop further lipomas from developing, please read the Animal Protocol blood test. Also, the name and address of the only veterinary laboratory that can test for total estrogen is listed.

Hopefully, if surgery is not an option, and you are concerned about the development of more lipomas, this may be a viable alternative for you to consider, especially as your dog moves into their “golden years”!

Please also remember by identifying and correcting this endocrine immune imbalance that is causing the production of lipomas, you may find it easier for your dog to lose weight, develop a much healthier coat with less shedding, while increasing the overall health of your dog.

Hopefully this article will help your dog live a longer, happier, healthier life.


Dr. AL Plechner