Posted on

Cbd oil for fatty tumors in dogs

Can CBD Help to Shrink Fatty Tumors?

Have you ever started taking a medication, or made a change in your lifestyle, to notice other troublesome symptoms start to dissipate? That is often the case for those who use CBD. Getting a daily dose of CBD is something that nearly 14% of Americans have added to their daily routines. So many have found such wonderful results, that they have started to share those benefits with their pets.

One thing many pet owners find, is that the older in age their furry companions get, the more discomfort they tend to experience. One of the causes for discomfort comes from tumors, that form under the surface of the skin.

What are Tumors?
Tumors are masses under the skin caused by abnormal cell growth, as a result the cells form a swelling under the skin which we then refer to as a tumor. It is important to note that dog tumors are no different to the tumors that affect us as humans. These tumors can be malignant or benign. A malignant tumor is a tumor that may invade its surrounding tissue or spread around the body. A benign tumor is a tumor that does not invade its surrounding tissue or spread around the body.

What Kinds of Tumors Affect Dogs?
Mast cell tumors: Mast cells tumors affect a specific type of blood cell. They form in the skin and are one of the most common types of skin tumors affecting canines. They generally grow very fast and are usually very red and itchy as they contain histamine; a compound which is released by cells in response to injury and in allergic and inflammatory reactions. Short-faced dog breeds like Boxers, Pugs, and French Bulldogs are most at-risk of developing these tumors.

Lipomas: Lipomas are very common in dogs. They usually form under the skin and are caused by the abnormal growth of fatty tissue. Luckily, lipomas are slow growing and usually harmless. They can usually be detected easily as they form as soft, movable lumps under your pet’s skin. Once they’ve been correctly identified, lipomas are usually left alone unless they impede a dog’s movement or activity.

Osteosarcoma: Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer affecting a specific type of cell that forms new bones. These tumors tend to affect the bones of the legs but can also form elsewhere. They tend to affect large dog breeds like Great Danes and Greyhounds, but also affect other breeds too. The most common sign of osteosarcoma is limping.

Histiocytoma: This tumor affects skin cells known as histiocytes (which actually form part of the immune system). They tend to affect younger dogs (usually under 3 years of age), and usually affect breeds like the English Bulldog, Scottish Terriers, Boxers, and Chinese Shar-Peis. Histiocytomas are typically benign and tend to regress on their own in a few months. Some tumors may be removed surgically if they are particularly bothersome for a pet.

Hemangiosarcoma: These tumors affect cells in the lining of blood vessels. They almost exclusively occur in dogs and are particularly invasive. They usually develop on the spleen, which has a large blood supply, but may also form in vessels in the heart or skin. Hemangiosarcomas can cause the spleen to rupture, causing pale gums, difficulty breathing, and difficulty getting up. These tumors tend to spread to other parts of the body and are more common in Golden Retrievers and German Shepherds.

Melanoma: Melanoma (often called “skin cancer”) affects pigmented skin cells. Like in humans, these tumors are usually visible on the skin as they form black or dark brown moles. Luckily, melanomas can be benign, although those forming in the mouth and nail bed tend to be particularly aggressive.

Lymphoma: These tumors form in the lymph nodes, causing them to swell. This can cause a variety of symptoms, including lethargy, loss of appetite, and coughing. Lymph node swelling is most noticeable under the jaw, in front of the shoulders, and behind the knees. These tumors are usually malignant and are generally treated with chemotherapy.

Papilloma: These tumors form as hard, cauliflower like warts on a dog’s lips, mouth, and around the eyes. They can be problematic for dogs as they can be painful and get infected. These tumors will usually develop then disappear within a few months, but they may also be removed surgically if they cause any problems for the dog.

What Symptoms do Tumors Produce?
The symptoms your dog displays will vary depending on the type of tumor they have. Some tumors, like melanomas, papilloma’s, and lipomas will cause noticeable growths that you or your vet will likely notice while petting, or during routine vet visits.

Lymphomas, on the other hand, may produce no notable symptoms other than swelling, which can be harder to diagnose. However, when affecting the gastrointestinal tract, lymphoma can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and a lack of appetite.

Hemangiosarcoma symptoms can vary depending on whether the tumor is visceral (deep down under the skin) or dermal (affecting the top layer of skin).

Some common symptoms of malignant tumors can include but are not limited to:
Limping, pain, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea, diarrhea, sores that don’t heal, lethargy, loss of interest in exercise, stiffness, difficulty breathing and/or coughing. However, keep in mind that some tumors do not cause any symptoms.

How are Tumors Treated?
Tumors first need to be diagnosed properly before a treatment plan can be discussed. To diagnose a tumor, doctors and vets will usually use one of more of the following diagnostics:
Lab tests (blood, urinalysis, etc.), X-rays and ultrasounds, CT scans or MRIs, fine needle aspirate and fluid analysis, or by doing a biopsy. Once the vet has correctly diagnosed the type of tumor affecting your dog, they’ll usually begin making a treatment plan specifically for them.

If the tumor is benign and doesn’t cause any major discomfort to the dog, your vet will usually opt to leave it be. If not, the next step is usually surgery to remove the tumor, part of it, or amputate the affected area. Following surgery, your vet will usually recommend chemotherapy to minimize the growth or spread of the tumor in the future.

If you have a pet that shows any symptoms of a tumor, it may be wise to try CBD, before opting for surgery, which can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Since CBD is known to have an antitumorigenic effect, this means it may be able to help stop or slow the growth of tumors, or even work to shrink them.

If you’re interested in trying CBD for your dog, check out our pet products here.

Want to read more articles such as this one? Read our previous blog: Organic CBD Deodorant by clicking here.

Fatty Tumors in Dogs

Fatty tumors, or lipomas, are one of the most common soft skin benign tumors found in dogs, especially amount older or overweight dogs. For some reason, overweight female dogs are especially prone to developing fatty tumors.

Fatty tumors can be found anywhere on the body, but they are most frequently located on the belly (mid-chest and down) and upper legs. Most tumors grow slowly and do not usually spread to other parts of the body.

What Causes Fatty Tumors in Dogs?

Many holistic vets believe that fatty tumors are the result of a dog body’s way to expel toxins or other imbalances.

In Traditional Chinese medicine, lipomas are considered as stagnation of body fluids. This may explain why older dogs are more prone to the development of lipomas. As their body systems are slowing down, they are not as effective in “moving” toxins, wastes and fluids out of the body.

In fact, the younger the dog, the more quickly you can shrink the fatty tumors on the dog. If you have a young dog, at the first sign of a fatty tumor developing, try to improve the dog’s health holistically, through natural whole foods, supplements, exercise, etc. If you do that, there is a good chance that you may be able to shrink the growth.

The longer you wait, or the older the dog, the less responsive the growth is to any treatment.

In addition, over-vaccination may be a contributing factor to the development of fatty tumors in dogs.

All dog breeds can develop fatty tumors, but certain breeds seem to be at higher risk, such as:

  • Doberman Pinschers
  • Miniature Schnauzers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Mixed breed dogs

Benign and Malignant Tumors

A benign tumor is one that usually grows slowly and does not spread to other parts of the body. If it can be surgically removed in its entirety, the tumor will not grow back.

A malignant tumor, on the other hand, is usually fast-growing and more aggressive. Even if the tumor is surgically removed, it tends to grow back in the same location, or has the ability to metastasize (spread) to other locations or vital organs.

Characteristics of Fatty Tumors in Dogs

Fatty tumors are soft masses under the skin. They have certain characteristics, such as:

  • They are freely movable under the skin
  • They are not painful
  • There is no hair loss
  • They do not cause redness or irritation to the skin

Monitoring the Growth of a Fatty Tumor

It is important to monitor the growth of a fatty tumor to make sure that there is no sudden change in size. You can document the size of the tumor by using some simple tools such as a piece of wax paper and a marker. Here is what you can do:

  • Put a piece of wax paper over the lump.
  • Using a marker (with a thin tip), trace the outer edges of the lump.
  • Date and file away the wax paper.
  • Repeat every two weeks.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suddenly find a lump under the skin of your dog, it is important to ask a vet to examine the lump to see if it is a benign fatty tumor, or something malignant.

Never assume that any growth under the skin is just a fatty tumor. There are cancerous tumors such as mast cell tumors whose appearance mimics fatty tumors and only tests such as a fine needle aspirate or biopsy can give an accurate diagnosis.

Once it is confirmed that the growth is indeed a fatty tumor, the vet will document the size and location of the growth and then recommend a watch-and-wait approach. The lump will then be monitored at regular intervals, to make sure there have not been any cellular changes.

Since fatty tumors in dogs are not dangerous or life-threatening, surgery is usually not recommended to remove fatty tumors in dogs. In fact, some vets believe that removing one lump usually results in multiple lumps appearing later in the dog’s life.

However, sometimes surgical removal of a fatty tumor is necessary. For example:

  • The tumor is too large or interferes with the dog’s normal functioning, e.g. the dog has difficulty walking or eating because of the tumor’s location (eg, over a joint, on the jaw).
  • There is sudden change in the tumor’s appearance, e.g. the tumor suddenly hardens, or begins to grow nodular and lumpy.
  • The tumor has started to bleed.

Dog Fatty Tumors Natural Treatment

There are quite a few things that you can do to help control or even shrink the growth of fatty tumors in dogs.

Natural Diet

The first thing to do is to look at your dog’s diet. Be sure to feed him a natural diet, preferably grain-free and home-cooked, with human-grade animal proteins (e.g. chicken meat, turkey meat, salmon, etc.) as the main ingredient.

Supplements

In addition to a healthy diet, some supplements may help dogs with fatty tumors.

    Turmeric and Coconut Oil: Turmeric powder has anti-inflammatory properties and can control abnormal cell growth. Coconut oil is also anti-inflammatory and the oil enhances absorption of turmeric. Go to this page to see how to make some “turmeric golden balls” for dogs.

  1. Maitake: This mushroom has been clinically shown to support health cell growth and maintain a healthy and balanced immune system.
  2. Cat’s Claw: This herb is well known for its anti-tumor properties. It benefits the natural and acquired immune systems and enhances the protective power of B- and T-cells.
  3. IP-6 and Inositol: Inositol is a naturally occurring nutrient. The most common form of inositol is sometimes referred to as myo-inositol, which is the parent form of IP-6. Inositol and IP-6 have been found to possess anti-cancer properties by dramatically increasing natural killer-cell activity and enhancing normal cell division.

Dogs with growths such as fatty tumors can benefit from this supplement. Many dog parents have seen their dogs’ tumors shrink within a short period of time after giving this supplement to their dogs.

Try making a blend by mixing 3 drops of Frankincense oil and 2 drops of Grapefruit oil with a tablespoon of coconut oil. Use the oil blend to gently massage into the fatty tumor, twice daily.

Note, however, that if your dog’s tumor is raw, weeping or bleeding, DO NOT use essential oils on it as the oils will sting.

References
Eldredge, et al. Dog Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook 4th edition (Wiley Publishing, 2007).
C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Herbs for Pets (Bowtie Press, 1999).
M. Goldstein, The Nature of Animal Healing (Ballantine Books, 2000).
S. Messonnier, The Natural Vet’s Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs (New World Library, 2006).