What are Lipomas?
Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that develop under the skin most commonly in dogs. They are usually soft, round or oval and moveable although some are quite firm and stationary.
How and Why do Lipomas form?
There are many theories regarding why some dogs get these tumors. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is said that these tumors are a result of Spleen Qi deficiency. The Chinese Spleen is associated with digestion and is the source of Qi and Blood. When the Chinese Spleen is weak, it is unable to adequately produce Qi and Blood, and instead, produces dampness. Dampness accumulates in the body and transforms into Phlegm. Lipomas are considered Phlegm nodules in Traditional Chinese Medicine. So why does the Chinese Spleen (digestion) become weak? If we look the Chinese Five Element Constitutions or personalities, the Earth constitution is associated with the Spleen. Earthy dogs, like Labrador Retrievers, are happy, friendly, maternal, relaxed and go with the flow. They are constitutionally predisposed to Spleen/digestion issues and therefore, Lipomas. When we talk about the Spleen and digestion issues, this logically leads us to food, diet and what we are offering our pets to eat. Diet plays a huge role in Lipoma formation and really, any tumor development. Highly processed foods such as kibble and canned dog food, generate excessive heat in the body and damage the Chinese Spleen (digestion). Another theory is that lipomas are benign storage areas for toxins. It is thought that the body pushes environmental toxins (vaccines, pesticides, chemicals) out and accumulates them into Lipomas where they cannot harm the body.
What can you do about Lipomas?
First of all, making sure your dog is eating fresh, real food is paramount to good health. Dogs with Lipomas already have weakened digestion, so feeding a gently cooked real food diet is ideal. Raw food is great in general, but can be too difficult to digest and use up too much energy in a dog with Lipomas and inherent underlying deficiency in Qi (energy).
Medicinal mushrooms, such as Coriolus or Turkey Tail mushrooms, have anticancer properties and help clear phlegm from the body.
Chinese herbs, put together into a formula, work synergistically to soften masses and clear Phlegm. Herbs such as Prunella, Fritillaria, Trichosanthes, Platycodon, and Scrophularia have anticancer properties. Dragon Flower Herbs custom made Canine Fatty Tumor Formula uses these and other herbs to help clear soft masses in dogs.
The Ayurvedic herb, Turmeric, is currently the most scientifically studied herb. It has been proven to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
Other supplements that can be helpful are probiotics, prebiotics, digestive enzymes, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C,