If your dog was diagnosed with a fatty lump, you may be wondering how much a dog lipoma surgery costs. This is a good question considering that nowadays, with the advance of veterinary care, costs for surgical procedures have been gradually increasing. Costs for dog lipoma removal may vary based on several factors such as how many lipomas are present, the age of the dog, and the type of surgery performed to remove them. Following is some information on the dog lipoma surgery procedure and its associated costs.
Fatty Lumps are There to Stay
Lipomas are benign tumors that form from mature fat cells. They are more common in medium to large breed dogs as they age. It is not clear as to why they exactly form, but there are chances that there may be some genetic factors at play. Unfortunately, there are no ways to prevent them from forming.
If your dog has a lipoma or several lipomas, you may be hoping that the fatty lumps will shrink naturally or eventually go away on their own. Unfortunately, it most cases though they do not. And even though losing weight can help a dog's lipoma decrease in size, consider that often lipomas are well encapsulated in connective tissue which makes them difficult to shrink or disappear, explains veterinarian Dr. Peter.
If you suspect your dog has a lipoma, play it safe and have your vet examine your dog. Your vet will likely want to take a small sample through a fine-needle aspirate just to rule out any cancers that may look like lipomas (liposarcomas or mast cell tumors, the latter often nicknamed as "the great imitators"). If your vet confirms the growth is truly a lipoma, he may suggest whether surgery to remove the lipoma is necessary or not.
The good news is that in many cases, lipomas in dogs are just a cosmetic issue and in general do not need to be removed unless they grow to such an extent as to impede movement and/or create problems. A classic example where a lipoma should be removed is when it grows by the dog's throat area causing breathing or swallowing difficulties. If your vet is suggesting surgery to remove a non-troublesome lipoma, it might be insightful getting a second opinion.
"Western medicine generally likes to remove fatty tumors. I disagree with this treatment protocol unless the tumor is impeding mobility, pressing on an internal organ, pinching a vein, or affecting quality of life. "~Dr. Jean Dodds
Dog Lipoma Surgery Procedure
The surgery to remove a dog lipoma is pretty much straightforward: an incision is made, the fatty mass is removed and the incision is then closed and allowed to heal. Once healed, the sutures may be removed by the vet or this can be bypassed if the vet uses sutures of the absorbable type.
With certain lipomas, vets may have to consider the option of placing a drain to allow drainage of fluids. This is because lipomas are lumps that grow under the dog's skin, within the subcutaneous space between the dog's skin and muscle layers. When a lump is removed, there will therefore be "dead space" and this dead space will tend to fill up with fluids, quickly forming what's known as a 'seroma'. To prevent this accumulation of fluid, a drain can be placed in the area, explains veterinarian Dr. Ralston.
This is most often the case when there lipoma is located where there is lots of loose tissue that cannot be closed very well to prevent too much "dead space." For example, in the armpit or groin area, you cannot tie down too much skin as it would make it difficult for the dog to move naturally, so in this instance, the vet may consider placing a drain, further points out Dr. Ralston.
Dog Lipoma Surgery Costs
As mentioned, the costs for dog lipoma surgery may vary from one geographical place and another, but you will also have to factor in some individual factors.
On average, most dogs will require some preoperative bloodwork (complete blood count, chemistry profile,) which can cost around $45, then, you will have the add the anesthesia which can cost about $75-$100 and then you will have to factor in several other things such as fluids, IV catheter placement, pain medications and the time your vet and staff spends working on the surgical table.
On average, you may expect costs for a dog lipoma surgery to range anywhere between $300 and $700.
Factors that may reflect the upper range of the scale include how many lipomas are present, how large they are, how attached they are to underlying structures, whether a drain will need to be put in, the type of anesthesia used (injectable vs isoflurane) and the type of surgery (laser vs. blade excision).
Sometimes, costs may be even more than the above listed such as in the case of a dog with a tumor located in an area that is difficult to operate requiring an ultrasound or CT scan for a better evaluation or the case of an older dog requiring more preventive measures to prevent complications.
The type of lipoma also plays role in dog lipoma surgery costs. For instance, infiltrative lipomas (lipomas that infiltrate within the muscles) require a much more involved type of surgery considering that it requires removal of muscle or fascial tissues affected by the tumor. This translates into significant more costs compared to the removal of a normal, non-infiltrative lipoma.