Can an Old Dog Teach You Something New?


Logan at Pre-Op with his Sisters

Last week I had to make a determination to have my dog, a 12-year-old black lab, to undergo surgery to remove what we believed to be a lipoma. Lipoma’s are commonly found in animals, as well as people. Perhaps you have noticed one of these lumps on yourself and were curious about what it may be. A lipoma is benign tumor composed of adipose tissue (fat). It is more common in adults 40-60 years old, but are also found in younger adults and children. I myself have several small Lipoma’s in my lower back. They are typically asymptomatic. They are soft and squishy and tend to not be of any significant pain or discomfort.

However, although they may be benign in the sense of a tumor, they can, at times cause pain when they develop around tissues such as nerves, muscles and ligaments. When this occurs, this may cause shooting pains from nerve entrapments, lameness or even changes in basic movement patterns, depending upon their size. Regardless of if you are a dog or a person, Lipoma’s are all the same. We treat many patients at The Boston Bodyworker who have what we may feel as a Lipoma. As a therapist, it is our job to indicate these findings to you if you are unaware of them (many are) and we recommend getting them checked out by a doctor just to be certain they are nothing more.

I wanted to use this platform to not only educate you, but to also show you what a Lipoma actually looks like. In the case of Logan (my dog), he has developed multiple Lipoma’s all over his body as he has grown older. Lipoma’s in labs are very common and not usually something to be alarmed about. They are certainly worth getting checked out by a doctor, but unless there are other symptoms that accompany them such as appetite loss, mood changes or elevated enzymes in the liver, symptoms that are typical with malignant tumors, doctors will commonly tell you to leave them alone. In Logan’s case, we monitor them and chart them with the doctor.

Logan began to experience some lameness in his hind left leg a few months back. Unlike, patients we see here, he could not vocalize what he was feeling. The doctor felt that since he was getting older, it could be a matter of arthritis developing in his hips or perhaps some dysplasia. Test did not indicate this, but again, without Logan’s ability to speak, it would require x-rays to determine this. After seeing him get increasing weaker and unable to sustain a walk of more than 10 minutes, I felt that it would be best to have the Lipoma’s on his hindquarter removed with the hope that doing this would provide relief to an entrapped nerve or muscle.

biopsyHere is an image of the Lipoma that was removed from Logan. As you can see, it is one HUGE piece of fat. It was slightly larger than a softball. The doctor reported that it was wrapped in and around his hamstrings and Achilles as well as some nerves. “Logan has the hips of a 6 year old,” stated the Vet when he showed me his X-rays.   It is still early in his recovery, but we are hopeful that he will be returning to his normal activities of nightly 2-mile walks and catching Frisbees before long.

There is no way to avoid Lipoma’s. Some of us are more predisposed to them than others. If you do notice any ‘bumps’ or ‘lumps’, we suggest that you always get them checked out by your doctor. Palpation of these is never 100% accurate and early detection may be the difference between life and death in some cases.

Please Hold the R.I.C.E.

Please Hold the R.I.C.E. I have been in the rehabilitation field since 1992. Since the very beginning I was always told that when treating an acute injury you should follow the age old acronym of R.I.C.E. or Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. The concept was originally introduced by one of the most respected names in…

Read More

Have a Brettzel!

Have a Brettzel! In the world of flexibility and stretching, there are a bevy of stretches that have likely been shown to you over the years. It’s hard to remember them if you don’t consistently do them and the ones you likely DO recall are the ones that are probably easiest for YOU to perform.…

Read More

Take 5: A Stress Break

Take 5: A Stress Break I will be the first in line to inform you of the benefits of a 60 minute massage treatment. However, what if your massage is not scheduled for another week or worse, not even scheduled? Well, as a firm believer and trumpeter of self-care, here is a pretty neat trick…

Read More

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain?

Is it a Muscle Cramp or Muscle Strain? Last week when my daughter walked in from cheerleading practice, I noticed her limping. When I asked her why she was limping, she went on to explain what I often hear and have seen from my athletes.  Having been fortunate to evade serious injuries until this point…

Read More

Work From Home Hacks!

With so many of you experiencing a new work environment, you are probably starting to notice that many of the chronic aches and pains you had experienced in the past at work on a daily basis, have seemingly disappeared. In their place however, are a new set of sensations we are experiencing due to such…

Read More

How to Fold a Fitted Sheet

Have a ‘sheety’ Valentine’s Day! Today is Valentine’s Day, otherwise known to most as a #greetingcardholiday.  As I walked out of CVS this morning, I laughed at the people who were fighting for position in the greeting card aisle.  Valentine’s Day is about showing love for someone in your life, not elbowing strangers while cursing…

Read More

Happiness is Contagious

Happiness is Contagious Maybe mom was right. Research suggests that surrounding yourself with friends and family who are happy can actually increase your own happiness. Scientists at Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, found that emotions, particularly happiness, have a viral effect in how they spread from one person to another. For…

Read More

De-stressing the Commute

De-stressing the Commute Turning Road Rage into Road Sage The average American commuter spends an hour a day driving to and from work. During this stressful, stop-and-go time, it’s likely that blood pressure increases, adrenaline begins pumping, and muscles constrict and tighten. By the time you get home, you’re wiped out and grumpy, and you…

Read More

What’s the Scoop on your Poop?

What’s the Scoop on your Poop? Being the father of two girls, I know I have my work cut out for me. I have come to accept that there are lessons that I can teach my children and there are others lessons they will simply have to learn through personal experience. One of the lessons…

Read More

Halloween Hacked!

Halloween Hacked Check out these simple hacks! Who among us doesn’t love Halloween. If I am being honest, it used to be me!  You see, I typically found myself in trouble around this time of year when I was in grammar school.  Let’s just say that I wasn’t always motivated to do what was asked…

Read More