Lump on Dog’s Leg Likely a Lipoma

Golden and Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to harmless fatty tumors.


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Q. My 9-month-old Labrador-Golden Retriever mix has a soft, movable lump about the size of a golf ball on her right front leg at the elbow joint. Can you give my any idea of what it may be?

A. Aah, lumps and bumps on retriever mixes; sometimes, it seems this is what keeps veterinarians in business.
In evaluating a lump, it is important to answer the following questions to determine if it has the potential to be something bad: Is it growing rapidly? Is it firmly attached in place? Is it soft? Is it a regular shape? Is it painful? Does it have any discharge? Could it be a lymph node?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the lump should be investigated further with a fine needle aspirate, a simple procedure that collects microscopic cells from the lump, stains them, and allows them to be viewed under a microscope.
Based on what you describe, the breed of your dog, and the location of the lump, it is most likely a harmless fatty tumor, called a lipoma. A very simple way for your veterinarian to confirm this is by pushing a needle into the lump, and then pushing the cells collected in the needle onto a slide with a syringe. If they appear as a clear, oily substance, your dog has a fatty tumor.

Most lipomas are left alone unless they grow to a size that makes the dog uncomfortable, in which case they are surgically removed. It is not uncommon for older Labrador-Golden-Retriever-type dogs to have numerous lipomas. Don’t assume every lump is a lipoma, however, check each one out whenever you are “loving up” on your dog.

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Jessecca   akron, Ohio

2/4/2014 12:23:05 AM

My 9 mouth old cain corso puppy has a soft ball sized mass on his right elbow its not painfull for him but it was noticed around thanksgiving and its now the size of a soft ball it started out small I am going to get him to the vet this week just wanted to know if anyone has had experience with this before! I know he has not been injured

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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

4/21/2013 4:14:55 AM

Excellent information to know!

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mary   lincoln, Nebraska

4/10/2013 9:52:27 AM

We have a black lab named julz she is 9 years old she had a lump on her front left leg took her to our vet and he drained it as it turned out there was cancer cells he said we would have to keep an eye on it cause if it would start bleeding again the only thing would safe the leg would be amputate the leg course we said if it came to that we would just put her down on top of that she is now considered a diabetic so she now requires two insulin shots a day but for now she has loss her eye sight which is so sad so just wonder anyone else is experiencing this with there dog plus with out giving her the insulin shots twice a day probably give or take 6 months to live so were trying to keep positive and take one day at a time.

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Amber   Adrian, Michigan

11/7/2012 5:58:54 PM

Our nine year old lab/doberman mix had a tumor in her front leg (we found this out when she went out one morning and came back in with her leg broken). We rushed her to the vet who knew that they suddenness of her leg breaking probably indicated cancer. After running tests, it was confirmed. We were referred to Michigan State University's small animal hospital. They said we could amputate her leg, but odds were she would live maybe to a year. Well, we wanted to give her a chance and six years later she died peacefully in her
Though we had a debt that took a few years to pay off, we were so happy that she was able to live out her life comfortably (she adapted to three legs and was full of spit and
My advice is to definitely visit the vet and if the diagnosis is cancer, then take into consideration your pet's health and happiness. Our girl was very happy and comfortable!!

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