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Published: May 31, 2012

It has happened to many owners: you're sitting with your canine companion, perhaps in the middle of your weekly dog grooming session, and you feel a lump on your dog's body that was not there before. Before you jump to conclusions and assume the worst, call your veterinarian to get an expert opinion.

According to, most of the time these lumps are fatty tumors called lipomas, which are generally benign. They are soft, rounded fat deposits right under the skin and are not painful to the dog. Lipomas are usually freely movable under the skin, they do not invade surrounding tissues and do not spread to other parts of the body.  Lipomas usually do not need to be removed unless they begin growing quickly or impair a dog’s movement in some way.

However, to ensure that these lumps are not a sign of cancer in dogs, the vet will usually recommend a needle aspirate sample or biopsy so they can examine the tumor's cells under the microscope, the news outlet reports. This allows vets to diagnose more serious issues like a spindle cell tumor in dogs or lymphoma in dogs. According to VCA Animal Hospitals, lymphoma, is more often characterized by swelling of the dog's lymph nodes and this condition should always be reported to your veterinarian immediately.

Some lipomas, will continue to grow and become a nuisance to your dog, so the vet may recommend a dog incision to remove them. Always discuss all of the treatment options with your vet to provide the best quality of life possible to your pet.