What Is That?! - Peri-renal Fat Pads

Have you ever experienced this embarrassing situation? You schedule an appointment with your veterinarian because as your dog has gotten older, she has developed two symmetrical lumps over her hips. You’re thinking the worst -- cancer -- when your veterinarian explains that *ahem* those lumps are not tumors -- they are perirenal fat pads.  Your darling pup has just become a bit of a chunker.

Now technically perirenal fat pads aren’t normal anatomy -- they are discrete fat deposits that occur in dogs who are overweight. But they are benign. If the name “perirenal fat pad” is too much of a mouthful for you, they have also been affectionately called “muffin tops” or “love handles”.

So what should you do if you suspect your dog has developed a muffin top? Well, it’s still a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for a full physical exam. They will determine a target weight and develop a safe plan to get there that will include calorie reduction, exercise, and frequent weigh-ins. Additional tests may be needed to investigate metabolic or orthopedic conditions creating a barrier to weight loss.

If you’d like to read more information on obesity in pets, here is a link to one of our previous blog posts: