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Eyelid lumps in dogs

When a tumour grows on the eyelid it presents different challenges to other locations in the body. An eyelid tumour may appear as a lump on your dog’s eyelid. There are several types of eyelid lumps in dogs. It is important to spot them early and find out more about the lump so that it can be managed correctly. Our vet explains more in this article.

This article was written by a FirstVet vet


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What are the problems associated with eyelid lumps in dogs?

  • Rubbing the eye surface (cornea) can lead to an ulcer, a very painful condition

  • Infection: some tumours reduce the eye’s natural defences to infection and allow bacteria to cause an infection

  • Conjunctivitis: tumours can cause inflammation leading to weeping eyes, red and swollen conjunctiva and sometimes squinting

Types of eyelid lumps in dogs

If your dog has a lump on its eyelid it can be one of several causes, the most common being:

  • Meibomian gland tumours - adenoma (benign) and adenocarcinoma (malignant). They appear pinkish and lobular, sometimes with ulceration and may bleed

  • Melanoma - a malignant type of skin tumour usually (but not always) black in appearance.

  • Papilloma - pink or whitish benign lump which can occur in dogs of any age and usually have an irregular appearance

  • Cyst - these can occur usually in a meibomian gland where the gland becomes blocked, swollen and filled with fluid. This type of cyst is often called a chalazion

What should I do if my dog has a lump on its eyelid?

If your dog has a lump on its eyelid it is important to make a note of when it first appeared and how quickly it is growing, it may be useful to take a picture for comparison.

Make an appointment to see your vet to have the lump checked. Your vet will do a full examination of your dog including looking at the eye, and this may include staining the eye to look for ulceration and close up examination with an ophthalmoscope.

Treatment for eyelid lumps in dogs?

It is not possible to sample these lumps as they are often very small and close to the eye. If the mass is fast growing, has visual characteristics that increase the chances of malignancy, or is causing a problem to the eye your vet will likely recommend removal. If your dog is middle aged to older removal may also be recommended as the potential for the lump to be cancerous is higher.

Surgical challenges: - Small eyelid tumours (less than a third of the eyelid margin) are usually easy to remove (depending on their location). When they get bigger than that they can be challenging to remove and may need specialist plastic surgical reconstruction

Surgery is aimed at removing the mass and a little bit of normal neighbouring tissue, the lump will be sent for analysis to determine whether it is cancerous or not. A highly malignant diagnosis may lead to follow up surgery being required to take away more tissue and reduce the chance of any cancerous tissue being left behind, in some cases this may lead to loss of the eye.

In addition any inflammation or infection will be treated with eye drops

Prognosis for eyelid lumps in dogs

Early consultation with your vet and prompt treatment will in most cases completely cure the problem. Where lumps are cancerous further treatment such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy may be required.

Further reading

Still have questions?

If you would like more advice about you dog please book an online video appointment to have a chat with one of our FirstVet vets.

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