Hi stranger! Signing up for MypetMD is easy, free and puts the most relevant content at your fingertips.

Get Instant Access To

  • 24/7 alerts for pet-related recalls

  • Your own library of articles, blogs, and favorite pet names

  • Tools designed to keep your pets happy and healthy



or Connect with Facebook

By joining petMD, you agree to the Privacy Policy.

PetMD Seal

Fatty Tissue Inflammation in Dogs

ADVERTISEMENT

Steatitis in Dogs

 

Steatitis is characterized by inflammation of the fatty tissue. Nutrition is often involved in the pathology of this condition. Ingestion of large amounts of dietary unsaturated fats without sufficient antioxidant activity may result in peroxidation (where free radicals "steal" electrons from the lipids in cell membranes, resulting in cell damage) with subsequent fat necrosis (death of fat cells) and steatitis.

 

Steatitis in dogs can also occur secondary to infection, inflammatory disorders, vasculopathy (disease of the blood vessels), cancer, injury, and immune-mediated disease. Some cases are idiopathic (cause is unknown). This is an uncommon disorder in dogs, and has become less prevalent with the addition of antioxidants to standard commercial pet food. It is most often reported in dogs with concurrent diseases, such as liver or pancreatic cancer. It is also more likely to be found in older dogs. Steatitis can be found in any part of the body as a lump under the skin. It may be mistaken as a tumor, making it important to have the lump examined and biopsied as soon as possible.

 

Symptoms and Types

 

  • Lump in the subcutaneous tissue (fatty tissue)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Reluctance to move, jump, play
  • Pain with handling or with abdominal palpation
  • Fever

 

Causes

     

  • Vitamin E deficiency
  • Decreased antioxidant capacity with subsequent free-radical peroxidation of lipids
  • Homemade diet with large fish base or pig's brain
  • Large amounts of dietary unsaturated fatty acids
  • Pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer
  • Infection (viral, fungal, bacterial)
  • Immune-mediated, cancer
  • Trauma, pressure, cold, foreign material
  • Radiation therapy
  • Idiopathic (unknown cause)

 

Diagnosis

 

You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, onset of symptoms, and possible incidents that might have led to this condition. The history you provide may give your veterinarian clues as to what underlying conditions are causing the outward symptoms.

 

To determine the exact cause of your dog's symptoms, your veterinarian will start with a physical examination of the affected area. A full physical workup will include a complete blood profile, including a chemical blood profile, a complete blood count, and a urinalysis. To determine the full makeup of the inflamed mass of tissue, your veterinarian will also need to do a fine-needle aspiration, taking a sample of the tissue and fluid in order to conduct a cell examination and a fungal/bacterial culture.

 

 

Treatment

 

This is a painful condition, so attention will be given to your dog's comfort level and steps will be taken to encourage the appetite. Concurrent disorders will also be treated.

 

Dietary changes are typically recommended. Removing all fish products from the diet and focusing on a nutritionally complete, balanced, commercially-prepared food diet is one of the first steps. Your dog may require tube feeding for a while until its condition has sufficiently improved. Your doctor may also prescribe Vitamin E and possibly corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Surgical treatment may involve draining the lump, or full removal of the lump. Antibiotics will be prescribed if the lump is found to be infected, or to prevent infection after treatment.

 

To avoid further complications that can result from licking and biting at a healing wound, your veterinarian may advise you to keep an Elizabethan collar on your dog until the wound has fully healed.

 

Prevention

 

Feed a commercial diet that is balanced to meet all of your dog's dietary needs.

 

Living and Management

 

It may require weeks to months for resolution of this condition, but the prognosis is good once the primary cause of the steatitis has been treated and an appropriate diet is established.

 

 

Related Articles

Liver Inflammation (Chronic) in Dogs
Hepatitis, a medical condition used to describe long-term, ongoing inflammation of...
READ MORE
Electrolyte Disturbance in Dogs
In patients that are being treated with insulin for diabetic ketoacidosis (a condition...
READ MORE
Excess Thyroid Hormone in Dogs
Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by overproduction of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone...
READ MORE
  • Lifetime Credits:
  • Today's Credits:
Hurry Before All Seats are Taken!
Enroll
Be an A++ Pet Parent! Take fun & free courses to earn badges & certifications. Choose a course»

Latest In Dog Nutrition

The Role of Exercise in Pet Weight Loss
Exercise is beneficial for our pets in many ways, including weight loss, and here's...
READ MORE
Pet Food Ingredients that Promote Longer Life
Pet foods, in order to promote a healthy long life, must be balanced and complete...
READ MORE
How Your Overweight Pet Could Benefit from ...
Pet obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Fortunately, there are some things...
READ MORE
Around the Web
MORE FROM PETMD.COM