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Cat Lipoma

Lipomas are benign, slow-growing, tumors filled with fat cells in cats that generally cause no alarm. Our Turlock vets explain cat lipomas, including diagnosis and management.

What Is a Cat Lipoma?

Lipomas are benign, slow-growing, and noncancerous tumors originating from fat cells. While they can occur in all animals, they are more prevalent in dogs than in cats. In cats, they are usually diagnosed in senior individuals.

Symptoms of Cat Lipomas

If a cat develops lipomas, there may be only one visible, but it is common for there to be many masses developing.

The lesions are most likely found on a cat’s chest, abdomen, neck, back, and upper legs, though no location is off-limits. They are found most often in the subcutaneous tissues beneath the skin, though they can also grow on internal organs.

Most commonly, these fatty masses are movable and soft to the touch, but they can also be firmer and more adhered to nearby tissues.

The skin surrounding the masses will be normal and otherwise unbothered, as well as the temperature being normal body temperature.

In dogs, these masses are able to grow so large that they outgrow their blood supply and the tissue will begin to die. While possible in cats, this is very rare.

Causes of Cat Lipomas

We do not fully understand why cats develop lipomas more frequently than dogs. Obese and overweight cats are more prone to developing lipomas compared to those with healthy body conditions.

Would a Cat Lipoma Burst?

Lipomas rarely burst, and attempting to burst them at home is not advisable. Removal should be left to the professionals. If your dog has a lump that oozes or bursts at home, it is more likely a cyst or another type of tumor.

In any case, it will necessitate a phone call to the oncology vet at Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital for a consultation 

How Cat Lipomas Are Diagnosed

If you notice any mass on your cat, it's important to have the growth examined by your vet.

Your veterinarian will likely recommend a test called a fine-needle aspirate (FNA) and cytology. Most veterinarians will perform this test in-house, although it may be sent out to a reference laboratory.

Your vet will collect a sample of the mass tissue using a needle and use a microscope to examine the tissue to make a formal diagnosis.

Lipomas are often easily diagnosed by their classic appearance under the microscope. For a confirmatory diagnosis, a larger tissue sample called a biopsy is necessary. This is a slightly more invasive procedure requiring a brief surgery, though it's still extremely safe."

Treatment for Cat Lipomas

Most lipomas only require monitoring. There is usually no reason for the treatment of cat lipomas, as they pose no threat unless they cause discomfort due to their large size or an awkward location.

The growth of most lipomas is quite slow, allowing time for consideration before opting for surgical removal if you are undecided.

Lipomas that are larger, fast-growing, or invasive into surrounding tissue may be appropriate candidates for surgical removal. Invasive lipomas make surgical removal more challenging, and they have a higher likelihood of recurrence.

It is important to obtain an accurate diagnosis to confirm that the mass is indeed a lipoma and not a malignant liposarcoma, as their treatments differ significantly.

What are The Costs Associated with the Removal of a Lipoma?

The cost of your cat's hernia surgery will be influenced by several factors, including further testing and the weight of your cat. The fees charged by your specific veterinarian, and the complexity of your cat's condition. Your veterinarian will provide you with a written estimate of the cost of your cat's hernia surgery.

Recovery and Management of Cat Lipomas

You generally shouldn't need to panic if a lipoma has been diagnosed in your pet. The outcome is usually very good. Your vet may suggest just monitoring the lipoma and its growth initially as these are noncancerous and typically will not bother your pet.

It's important to take the time to inspect the fatty mass every few months and record any changes in shape, firmness, or skin lesions. Changes can indicate a need to reevaluate the mass with a biopsy.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Have you discovered any changes in your cat's skin and tissue? Contact our Turlock vets to have your cat examined for lipoma and other skin conditions.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

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