Holistic vet Rohini Sathish has a host of surgery-free options for dogs with lipomas.
Q. Our 10-year-old female spaniel, Magi, has a couple of fatty tumors on her body just under the skin. Our vet called them lipomas. We are not keen on surgery, but one of them is quite large. Can you suggest any holistic alternatives?
A. Lipomas, benign tumors of mature fat cells or adipocytes, are extremely common in older dogs. Most fatty tumors are subcutaneous—just under the skin—but there are some that can grow in between muscle layers or in the chest or abdominal cavities.
Some lipomas are called infiltrative as they keep invading into surrounding tissue. Very rarely do vets come across cancerous fatty tumors known as liposarcomas.
What causes lipomas?
Older obese female dogs are more likely to develop lipomas, especially on their trunk and legs, which suggests that diet has a role to play. However, obesity does not seem to be a factor in lipoma development in cats.
Mainstream veterinary medicine seems to underestimate the consequences of toxic overload or toxin build-up over time. Holistic vets, however, believe that fat and toxins may become encapsulated or trapped by the body’s immune system as it attempts to eliminate contaminants from inside the body to the surface. This is the body’s protective mechanisms coming into play to preserve organ function. Another theory is that the lymphatic system, which plays a key role in waste elimination, can get blocked or slow down due to toxic waste build-up, which in turn leads to stagnation and lipoma formation.
Some examples of toxic chemicals that can build up in the system include pesticides, herbicides, medications, heavy metals, chlorine, fluoride and chemicals from vaccines.
Diagnosis and treatment
In most cases your vet can diagnose a lipoma just by palpating (examining by touch) a soft subcutaneous mass that is mobile and unattached. However, mast cells can have a similar feel and appearance, which is why I strongly recommend fine needle aspiration to rule out mast cell tumors, which can be cancerous. A CT scan may be necessary to diagnose other types of lipomas.
The conventional treatment for lipomas is surgery to cut them out. But this is only necessary if these fatty lumps are affecting your dog’s range of movement or are located in awkward places like the armpit or groin. Very large lipomas need to be debulked as they can be heavy and compromise your pet’s quality of life.
Overconsumption of starch and fat and feeding processed diets can play a role in lipoma formation. So try switching Magi to an unprocessed, grain-free home cooked or raw diet. The type of fat in your dog’s diet is more important than the amount of fat. Avoid foods that contain rancid oils commonly found in kibble containing rendered animal fat, GMO soy, vegetable and canola oils. See my book You Can Heal Your Pet for more information on the best diet for your dog.
Liver detoxification and cleansing the lymphatic system is important both to prevent and treat lipomas. Try the following to aid detox:
The following herbs are all good options:
Dump-a-lump by AnimalEO (available from Glacier Peak Holistics) contains a blend of essential oils including frankincense, sandalwood, myrrh, oregano and lemon and is designed to shrink all kinds of superficial lumps and bumps.
Many skin-related problems are now being treated with colostrum as it helps to maintain proper gut function. Four Leaf Rover Bovine Colostrum is one high-quality product. Suggested dosage: follow the label instructions
A homeopathic vet will be able to prescribe the right remedy and dosage for Magi, but here are some that may be helpful.
Just getting your dog to play or walk more can boost the circulation and keep the lymph flowing. At least 30 minutes a day of brisk walking is needed. Brushing your dog daily can also improve circulation.
Try the following massage technique weekly or even daily to improve the circulation and help prevent lipomas developing. Start your session with an opening massage:
Find out more about Dr Rohini Sathish here: https://www.rohinisholisticvetcare.com/