In August, 2000, while grooming and brushing Casey's coat, we noticed a small but soft lump. This lump was located at the base of his neck just centered above his shoulders. Naturally, alarmed by this finding, we consulted our veterinarian. They did a needle biopsy to determine what this lump was. The results showed lipid tissue (fat tissue). The term to describe this lump is Lipoma. Our veterinarian suggested this lipoma is not life-threatening or effecting Casey's general health in any way. It was recommended that we continue to observe the lipoma for any changes in size and density. With this information we felt relieved and did what was recommended, we observed the lipoma. By the end of November/2000, we noticed a rapid growth to the lipoma on Casey's back and found another on his rear inner right leg. We revisited our Veterinarian to confirm this second lump was indeed a lipoma. They still recommended that we observe the progression of these growths. During this visit, the lipoma's were measured for size. The veterinarian also gave us the option to remove the lipoma's, but assured us it would be purely cosmetic.
By the end of January 2001, we noticed a significant increase in size, shape and density of the lipoma on Casey's back area. Given the location of this lipoma over his shoulders, we decided it was time to have it removed. Casey had his surgery February 2/2001. Both lipoma masses were removed under a general anesthesia. After the surgery, our veterinarian informed us it was an extensive surgery. The lipoma mass was very large weighing 290 grams. The mass was deeply embedding into surrounding muscles and the fatty tissue areas around the spinal cord area. The veterinarian assured us we had made the right decision to have the surgery performed. Casey was left with forty stitches on his back, with two drains one on either side of his incision line. The lipoma on his right rear leg was a simple removal and has ten stitches on that area. The next few days after the surgery were difficult for Casey. But after the second day after surgery he was showing signs of his normal wonderful self again. He had to cope with the large dressing necessary to cover his incision, limiting his activity, and of course medications. Casey was placed on antibiotics, steroids for the inflammation, and mild pain killers. On February 9/2001, he had the drains removed, and will have all the stitches removed February 16/2001.
It has been quite an experience to say the least. During the first day after the surgery when all was the most difficult for Casey, We questioned whether we made the right decision. But, hind-sight they say is 20/20. In retrospect, our feeling is we would have had the lipoma removed when they were smaller. Perhaps Casey would not have had to endure such an extensive surgical procedure. These are questions that will probably never be answered. The most important thing is, Casey is on the mend and is recuperating very well. He is a very happy and healthy little dog.
We would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the entire staff of Anderson's Animal Hospital, for all the excellent care Casey received. We were very comforted by all the support and kindness shown to us, during this very difficult time.
Please visit these websites for more information on Canine Lipoma and other health related issues. A special thank-you to Sharon Bock for permission to link to her website, for educational/ illustration about canine lipoma.