Abby, two months after lipoma surgery

Two months ago, Abby, my yellow lab, underwent lipoma surgery.  The mass the vet removed was 12 lbs. and was encapsulated, but it had been hit and bruised, so when they performed the surgery, Abby bled heavily, causing her to have a pretty tense surgery and long recovery.

Not a typical lipoma

Unlike most lipomas, Abby’s lipoma was under muscle.  And it had grown exponentially the couple of months prior to the surgery.  Having a large mass sticking out/off of her side and going down behind her front leg was uncomfortable, restrictive and impairing her quality of life.

Even though I had switched her to raw food and had been giving her several natural supplements in an attempt to keep the lipoma from getting larger and having to put my nearly nine-year-old dog through surgery, I finally had no choice.

Missing Abby

Up until that time, Abby and I had only ever spent one or maybe two nights apart.  To say I was nervous about the surgery is an understatement.  Aside from spay/neuter surgeries, which every animal I take in gets, I’d never had an animal need such a major surgery.  It was awful.  I prayed the surgery went ok and she was back home soon.

Abby’s absence was a preview of what life would be like someday, and I absolutely hated it.  The tragic loss of Roxie, my Great Pyrenees, to cancer in December, after 13 years together was still too fresh.  As I lay in bed and listened to the silence that used to be filled with Roxie’s random nighttime barking to warn potential intruders that she was on duty outside, and Abby’s light snoring inside, I cried tears of sadness and worry.  That immediately ran into my ears.

I knew from the vet consult that the surgery was going to be pretty serious, requiring them to cut through not only Abby’s skin but also her muscle.  I also knew that the incision was going to be big.  Abby would have to be in the hospital at least 1-2 nights.  I hated the thought of her being without me in her quiet home with her routine during what I knew would be a very uncomfortable, loud, and confusing time.

I tried my best to talk the vet into letting her come home sooner, but as serious as the surgery had been, she wanted to keep Abby from the original plan of two nights to four.  It was a very long and lonely four days.  Although I have ten animals, they are each individual personalities with their own imprint around here, and when one is gone, their absence leaves a huge hole.

Abby’s recovery

Once I got Abby home, I set her up in the kitchen, the only room large enough with vinyl flooring to accommodate both her and her incontinence pad and towel covered bed.  For the first time in many, many years, she slept there instead of on her bed in the bedroom, near me.  Luckily, for the most part, she didn’t seem to mind, but I couldn’t wait for her to be healed up and our routine back.

Abby’s every bark woke me up and sent me rushing to the kitchen to check on her.  Oftentimes the bark was to basically tell on Sissy, one of the cats, who jumped barricades to suddenly start laying on Abby’s icky bed.  I would remove Sissy from the bed, change towels if necessary, help Abby get situated on her bed, then take myself back to my own bed.

The incision healed quickly, but Abby continued to drip blood from her drain opening for around two weeks.  She dripped so much blood during that time that I was sure if the trash men happened to see how many bloody paper towels and these blood-soaked incontinence pads (which made my life so much easier and saved my towels) were in my trash, the FBI would be knocking on my door.

Every time Abby moved, blood would drip out of her drain.  A lot of it.  This was due to there being a lot of empty space where the mass had been.  Unfortunately, her drain hole was up under her, between her chest and front leg.  That made it nearly impossible to contain the dripping and still allow her to walk to the door to go outside for potty breaks.  The only way to contain all that dripping as we went out or came in, was to barrel hug her while holding a towel to the drain hole.

Being bent over and hugging all 100+ lbs. of Abby while holding a towel up against the small opening and trying to walk was hard to do.  It also confused her so much that she just stood still, waiting for the idiot holding on tightly to let go.  Since that barrel hug plan wasn’t feasible, that meant that every time we had to go outside or come back inside, there was a bloody trail in and out of the kitchen and house.  It was lovely.

Abby gets a pressure sore

During her stay at the vet clinic, Abby developed a pressure sore on her elbow (coincidentally, one of the hardest places on a dog to try to keep a bandage on), also requiring attention when she got home.  Having never seen a pressure sore before, I was shocked to see that once the scab came off, Abby had a deep, cylindrical open wound in her elbow.

Luckily, honey, colloidal silver, antibiotic ointment, and calendula oil got her fixed up.  Besides a couple of times she’s scratched at her incision, causing it to bleed a little, she’s completely healed up and her hair is slowly growing back.  Here’s what her incision and elbow look like today:

Another lipoma surgery ahead

Unfortunately, the lipoma on her other side, also under the muscle, is continuing to grow.  I noticed after a long walk yesterday, that her elbow is hitting and rubbing on it.  It will need to be removed at some point also.  <Sigh>

Trying to avoid another expensive and nerve-wracking surgery, I had Abby on some supplements that were recommended as a possible lipoma shrinker in one of my natural healing books.  Unfortunately, after being on antibiotics for so long after the first surgery, her stomach was giving her some trouble so I temporarily stopped everything but the probiotics.  I didn’t want all of the supplements I was giving her to make her situation worse.

I’m not sure whether the pills for her lipoma were working or not, but I’ve started saving for another surgery.  I just hope the next surgery goes smoother and that’s the end of our lipoma issues.

Coincidentally, Abby’s lipomas both occurred in the two places where she had scratched very aggressively with her back feet last year when her environmental allergies were off the charts.  The vet doesn’t feel like that was a contributing factor, but I have to wonder based on what I witnessed and what I’ve read about muscle trauma and lipomas.  Here’s her lipoma at the moment:

I’ll keep you posted on when and how the next surgery and recovery goes.  For now, I’m hoping no new animals show up in the meantime and this thing doesn’t grow any more until I can at least get done paying back the money I had to borrow for the first surgery and all the extra expenses related to it.  It will be nice to see Abby lump free, hopefully once and for all.


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12 thoughts on “Abby, two months after lipoma surgery

  1. My dog Molly has a lipoma in the same place it is 1 1/2″ in size right now. Did it grow that big in 2 months or did it stay small for awhile. ? I had her teeth cleaned and the vet asked if I wanted to have it removed but I decided not to because I did not want to keep her under to long because of labs have a tenancy to have problems with throat collapse. Now I wish I had it done.

    1. Hi Hanna,

      I’m sorry to hear about Molly’s lipoma. Abby’s was never that small. It just appeared overnight last summer and was about the size of your fist or better. It kind of stayed the same size, maybe growing slowly towards the end of the year, despite me trying numerous things to slow it down, stop it, or reverse it. After the first of the year, it really began growing to the point that it had to be removed.

      Abby’s 2nd lipoma that we just had removed last week did the same thing. It just appeared, then stayed about the same, then in the last month, it seemed to grow exponentially. Both were encapsulated, so they scooped right out. The first lipoma was 12 lbs. and the 2nd one was 4 lbs.

      Depending on what kind of lipoma Molly has, (soft?), there are things you can do that might help shrink it while it is small. Abby’s lipomas were larger and hard and didn’t respond to anything I tried. She currently has a nine inch incision on her side and I’m hoping that’s the last one she’ll have to endure. She does have an an orange sized lipoma on her chest that the vet says is not causing any problems right now. She’s had that one for a while and it doesn’t seem to be growing, so I’ll just be watching it for now.

      1. Thank you for your answer. I got nervous about the whole matter and I checked her over and she had one on the other side. And one on her neck .
        I made a appointment with her vet. She has just turn 7 years old.. Not looking forward to her having a operation. I am very sensitive to animals in pain. Thank you

        1. Hanna,

          From what my vet tells me (because Abby is my first and only lab), labs are just pre-dispositioned to have lumps and she said she’s seen all varieties (male, female, lean, etc) have them. If Molly’s lipomas are all small, your vet may just be able to do an aspiration of them to make sure they aren’t harmful. If they aren’t, as long as they don’t grow to become inhibitive of movement, most vets recommend not removing them. This might be helpful for you….

  2. So happy that Abby is doing well. My dog seems to have a similar situation. Lipoma that we have been watching for about 5 years starting growing exponentially in the last few months. Two weeks ago it was removed and it was huge! Weighed 9 pounds and I still cannot believe it came out of her. She has had the drains in the entire time and I have been banding the area with gauze, etc 2 times a day. I empathize with your entire situation during your first surgery. It sounds like by your description the drains were not bandaged? Did you clean them with something special and were you worried about infection? Our follow up is tomorrow and today is our last day of cephalexin. She is still draining quote a bit of fluid though. I have read so many horror stories on the internet… yours was the first that seemed to come close to my situation and give some encouragement.

    1. Donna,

      No, Abby’s drain was not bandaged on her first surgery back in February. She was in the hospital for four nights before they let us bring her home and by that time, they felt comfortable removing the drain tube. I only had to keep an eye on her incision and the opening where the drain tube had been. She was on Enrofloxacin for that surgery and again for her 2nd one that she had on the 15th of this month, though this second lipoma was only four pounds and had no drain.

      As far as infection and such, I kept fresh towels and incontinence pads rotated on her bed so she had clean bedding at all times and I also occasionally used colloidal silver on the incision. She never had any problems with her incision or her pressure sore, which turned out to be harder to treat than the incision, since it was on her elbow and nearly impossible to keep clean and wrapped. I never had to clean any of the areas, as they mostly stayed clean and if they did get hair stuck to them, the colloidal silver helped soften the area so I could remove the hair. That was mostly just an issue with her pressure sore.

      I can’t remember exactly how long it was before Abby stopped draining entirely, but it seemed like forever. Removing such a large mass just leaves a huge space that there is a lot of drainage from, according to my vet. Luckily, Abby’s second lipoma was much smaller and required no drain, but she does have a nine inch incision on her side, this time horizontally. I have pictures and updates about it on my Facebook page. She just had the stitches out Saturday and hopefully we are done with it and no more lipomas come up in the future.

      If you have any other questions or want to compare notes, feel free to contact me through my contact form on my ‘About’ page.

  3. Thanks for responding! Glad things worked out! Espee had the drains in for 3 full weeks. Uggh…. and then finally came out and we are at week 5 and all is good! Like you, we have some smaller lipomas still but hopefully they can live out their lives without another surgery to remove any.

    1. Hi Donna! I’m so glad to hear Espee is recovering just fine! Three weeks seems like a long time for drains since Abby’s lipoma was 12 lbs. and she only had hers in for four days, but as long as it worked out, I guess that’s all that matters. Our second surgery recovery has been much smoother, thank goodness. I will continue to research things that might stop these things from turning into the nightmare they become, and if I find anything, I’ll be sure to pass it along. So far, everything I’ve read has just been for the little fatty lipomas, not these big ones. The supplements I tried from Dr. Goldstein’s book didn’t help either, so I’ve kind of just put it on the backburner for now. I do always have my eye out though because I just refuse to believe that there is NOTHING you can do to stop these things. 🙂 I hope you and Espee continue to have an easy full recovery and no more surgeries in your future!

  4. I want you to know about Fenbendazole (also known as Pancur, the dog dewormer) for cancer. It may help you with your rescues and may help others too if you were to do an post or article on it. It is a cheap cancer treatment that is used by people and pets. Joe Tippens’ blog shares his story of recovery with it and more info on it.

    1. Hi Terri,

      Thank you for sharing this information. I’m aware of ‘Panacur C’ and its use as a treatment for cancer as well as apricot kernels. There is also healing music on Youtube you can use. I have discovered a lot of things since writing this post and my post about losing a dog to cancer, but taking the time to put them all down in a clean format is just something that I haven’t done, unfortunately. It’s been a busy last year on a number of fronts, so I haven’t written the articles I planned to write.

      Thanks again for sharing this information and feel free to copy and paste it to my other article about my dog with cancer, where more eyes might see it who are looking for cancer treatment help.

  5. Hi,

    So glad to hear that Abby is healing from his second surgery too. So my lab named Nero also developed a lipoma under his right arm and it wasn’t really growing in size but he had been limping on that right leg. The limping got worse but the vet said that the X-Ray’s don’t suggest any serious degradation for him to be limping so badly and hence suggested having the limpoma removed as it may have been touching a nerve and causing his trouble. We had the lipoma removed 5 days ago. His limp is still persisting and I’m confused if it’s because of the surgery or there is still some issue.

    I wanted to know if Abby experienced any limping issues due to the lipoma and post surgery what was the timeline of the progress you observed. Would really help me get some perspective with you le experience.


    1. Abby ended up having her 2nd lipoma removal surgery in August of 2017. That lipoma was only 4 lbs. and the surgery went much smoother. She was fine for a couple of years, and then she developed a large lipoma in her chest, one under her right front leg (armpit area) and a large one in her back left thigh. The one that was restricting her movement the most was in her armpit area, and NOTHING I had tried over the years was stopping them from just popping up basically overnight. After much hesitation, but ultimately wanting her last few years to be as good as I could make them for her, in December of 2020 I took her in for pre-surgery bloodwork.

      Unfortunately, Abby’s bloodwork wasn’t good, so more testing, including an ultrasound, revealed that one of her adrenal glands was twice the normal size, which the vet said was possibly the cause of her poor bloodwork. Abby was 12 at that time and really slowing down, so feeling defeated, but not out, I began researching what my options were to help her, besides putting her on medication that the vet wanted.

      I ended up running across a diet called RMF (Rotational MonoFeeding). Figuring we had nothing to lose, I read up on how to do it, which included taking her off all of her supplements and adding plant/fruit days to her diet. Nearly eight months later, Abby is still not walking perfectly, but she’s definitely not struggling like she was. Unfortunately, the lipomas haven’t gone down, and it’s possible they won’t, but now at over 13 years old, as of April, Abby is doing better than I imagined she would without the surgery.

      Due to all the virus restrictions at the vet’s office, I haven’t been back to have her bloodwork checked, but she’s still not showing any signs of Cushings, which the vet was surprised at, or any other issues, so I have to believe that the diet has helped give her some of her spring back when years of raw diet and numerous supplements didn’t.

      As far as your dog and the limping issue, no, Abby didn’t ever have any limping. Both of her lipomas that were removed were right behind her front legs. One she has now is in her armpit area, but it hasn’t caused any limping either. It is just throwing her gait off since she can’t move her leg straight back and forth as she walks. X-rays have confirmed she has arthritis, but so far, it is not affecting her that I can tell.

      My advice is to read this article I wrote recently about the diet I put Abby on in December, August 9th will be Abby’s eighth month on the diet and she continues to do well with only her diet and no supplements of any kind. While her hearing did improve initially, I’ve noticed the last month maybe, it’s gotten a bit worse, but I’m not sure if that’s temporary or not. Everything else has remained better than before the diet change. Giving Nero’s body a break from digestion may be all that is necessary to help eliminate the cause of the limping. While I do believe at this point that Abby is just genetically pre-dispositioned to get these intramuscular lipomas, in case Nero isn’t, putting him on the RMF diet may prevent any future lipomas from forming. You really don’t have anything to lose by trying it and I wish I’d found it sooner for Abby.

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