How Much Does Dog Lipoma Removal Cost?

Last Updated on June 14, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that often develop in middle-aged and senior dogs. While usually harmless, some lipomas can become problematic based on their size and location. In these cases, surgical removal may be necessary.

But how much does it cost to have a veterinarian remove a lipoma from your dog? Factors like the lipoma’s size and placement, extra diagnostics needed, and your location influence the final price tag.

Gaining greater insight into lipoma removal surgery expenses helps you make an informed decision when facing this situation.

How Much Does Dog Lipoma Removal Cost?

The total cost for dog lipoma removal can range from $300 to $1,000+ depending on the specifics of the case. Like most surgeries and medical treatments, the total bill consists of multiple charges including:

  • Consultation – $50 to $150 – Initial vet exam and assessment of the lipoma.
  • Diagnostic Tests – $100 to $300 – Costs of biopsies, bloodwork, or imaging to confirm lipoma diagnosis.
  • Anesthesia – $50 to $200 – General anesthesia to keep the dog under during surgery.
  • Surgery – $200 to $600 – Surgical removal of the lipoma, including operating room use, equipment, and the procedure itself.
  • Medications – $20 to $100 – Antibiotics and pain management medications administered pre- and post-surgery.
  • Post-Op Visits – $50 to $150 – At least one follow up exam, suture removal, etc.
  • Complications – $200+ – Additional costs if complications like infections or reactions arise.

With all the variables in play, total costs to remove a dog lipoma often range from $300 to over $1000+, even $2000 in some cases.

Dogster reports that the cost of lipoma removal surgery can vary significantly depending on several factors, including the number of growths, location, and the dog’s age, breed, and health.

The cost per lipoma can range from $200 to $600, with additional costs for veterinary exams, biopsies, blood work, anesthesia, and follow-up care. For more complex surgeries, the cost can increase to $1,000 or more.

Lemonade mentions that the cost of lipoma removal surgery can range from $200 to $1,000, depending on the location and size of the lipoma. The cost of a fine needle aspiration can range from $20 to $200, and additional tests such as ultrasound, X-rays, or CT scans can cost $350 to $3,000.

The cost of surgery can range from $200 to $800 per lipoma, with additional costs for anesthesia, blood work, and follow-up care.

Pawlicy Advisor mentions that the cost of simple dog lipoma removal procedures can range from $400 to $700, while more complex surgeries can cost upwards of $1,000. They highlight the importance of considering the cost of diagnosis and removal when deciding whether to proceed with surgery.

Embrace Pet Insurance reports that the cost of surgical removal can range from $200 to $500 per mass, with additional costs for anesthesia, blood work, and follow-up care.

MetLife Pet Insurance reports that the cost of removing a lipoma can range from $200 to $600.

Hepper mentions that lipoma surgery is usually covered under preventative care coverage by pet insurance plans. It can cost around $150 or more to diagnose more complex cases, and surgical removal can range from $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on the location and size of the lipoma.

What are Dog Lipomas?

Let’s start with a quick primer on what a lipoma is:

  • Definition – A lipoma is a fatty, benign mass that develops underneath or on top of the skin.
  • Composition – Lipomas consist of fat cells encapsulated in a thin, fibrous connective tissue capsule.
  • Common Locations – They typically occur on the torso, upper legs, and neck regions.
  • Appearance – Lipomas are soft, movable lumps that feel fluid-filled and are usually oval or round.
  • Symptoms – The main symptom is presence of the noticeable lump under the skin. It moves easily with light pressure.
  • Diagnosis – Vets confirm lipomas through physical examination, fine needle aspiration, or biopsy.

When Lipoma Removal Becomes Necessary

In most cases, lipomas are benign and removal is optional. However, surgical excision may be recommended if the lipoma:

  • Becomes large enough to interfere with movement or cause discomfort
  • Restricts defecation, urination, or other bodily functions
  • Grows rapidly over a short period of time
  • Obstructs joints or presses on organs
  • Becomes red, inflamed, or tender indicating complication
  • Keeps growing back after previous lipoma removal

Extracting problematic lipomas restores mobility and improves quality of life.
Treating Lipoma in Dogs

Additional Expenses to Factor In

Beyond the direct surgical expenses, additional fees that contribute to the final lipoma removal bill include:

  • Extended hospitalization and specialized nursing care during recovery
  • Elizabethan collar to prevent licking and chewing of the incision site
  • Special diet food if normal food is restricted post-surgery
  • Repeat surgeries if the lipoma recurs in the same site
  • Secondary diagnostics like CT scans or MRIs for complex cases
  • Specialist surgery fees if done by a veterinary surgeon rather than general vet
  • Non-prescription supplements that support healing and reduce inflammation

Being aware of these potential add-ons allows you to plan for the higher end of the cost range when budgeting.

Geographic Location Impacts Costs

Where you live is a major cost factor, as veterinary care prices vary significantly based on region:

  • Urban clinics in major metro areas like Los Angeles and New York City have the highest fees, sometimes $600 to $1200 and more for lipoma removal. Their overhead costs are substantial.
  • Expect to pay around $400 to $550 in suburban regions with moderately high costs of operation.
  • More affordable options exist in rural areas where removal may cost $300 to $400 on average due to lower overhead and salaries.

Compare rates from vets in your immediate area to find one that fits your budget constraints for this surgery.

Does Pet Insurance Cover It?

Some pet insurance plans cover lipoma removal, less any deductible. However, many policies classify lipomas as pre-existing conditions excluded from coverage if they developed before enrollment. Reach out to your provider to find out if this procedure would be reimbursable under your specific policy.

Filing claims involves submitting invoices showing a breakdown of all charges incurred. Most insurance companies reimburse 70% to 90% of eligible costs after the deductible.

Ideas for Managing the Costs

If the estimate exceeds your budget, consider these options for reducing the costs:

  • Apply for third-party financial assistance through the human society or veterinary social workers
  • Work out a payment plan with your vet to pay over time interest-free
  • Seek lower-cost care from veterinary colleges and clinics with new vets under supervision
  • Ask your vet about any discounts for combining multiple procedures in one surgery
  • See if your vet offers promotional pricing for first-time surgical clients
  • Inquire about payment options like partial upfront payment plus post-op payments

At-Home Care After Surgery

Proper aftercare during the recovery period involves:

  • Administering all prescribed medications as directed.
  • Keeping the incision site clean and dry to prevent infection. Avoid baths.
  • Having the dog wear an Elizabethan collar at all times to prevent chewing at sutures.
  • Calling the vet if you notice signs of complications like excessive swelling, bleeding, or oozing discharge.
  • Restricting activity to allow healing over 1-2 weeks. Keep walks short and jumping/running limited.

Closely following your vet’s post-op instructions facilitates smooth, rapid healing after lipoma removal.

Final Words

When a lipoma hinders your dog’s mobility or quality of life, removal surgery is often the solution. Typical costs range from $300 to over $1000 based on the specific case, location, and additional diagnostics required.

Weigh the benefits given your dog’s symptoms and overall health versus the cost. With proper financial planning and post-surgery care, your dog can get back to comfortable, active daily life after recovering from a lipoma removal procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a lipoma on a dog need to be removed?

Not always. Many lipomas cause no symptoms and can be left alone safely. Removal is often recommended if the lipoma impedes mobility, reaches a large size, or shows signs of inflammation indicating complication. Have your vet assess if removal is warranted.

How many lipomas can a dog have?

Dogs can develop multiple lipomas over time. It’s not abnormal to find 2-3 lipomas on an older dog. Large breed and overweight dogs tend to be more prone to developing multiple lipomas. Most cause no issues and may not all need removal.

How long does it take for a dog to recover from lipoma removal?

Most dogs need around 10-14 days of rest and restricted activity to recover after lipoma removal surgery. Sutures are removed 10-14 days post-op. Full recovery takes about 4-6 weeks until the incision site is completely healed and regular activity can resume.

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