Last Updated on January 25, 2022 by Marco C.
Having something grow on your dog’s eyelids isn’t always that dangerous but it still requires a quick vet visit. So, here we’ll cover growths on dogs’ eyes and the immediate action you should take. We’ll go over the main causes for such lumps, the risks, potential treatments, and rehabilitation. Of course, nothing we write here should be taken over or instead of a vet’s opinion but we can give you some heads up on what your vet will likely say and recommend.
Identifying The Growths On Dogs Eyes
Finding a lump on your dog’s eyelid can be stressful. Not only does it look like a worrying problem but we often can’t easily figure out what the issue is at a first glance. Fortunately, in over 75% of the cases, such lumps are non-cancerous and harmless. Unfortunately, the potentially harmful situations aren’t as rare as we would have liked either.
Even in harmless cases, it’s smart to talk with your vet as soon as possible. First of all, only a qualified expert can comprehensively diagnose the growths on dogs’ eyes. Additionally, even harmless lumps should be removed quickly as they can obstruct your dog’s eyesight, they can be irritating and painful, and they can sometimes become more harmful over time.
Learn more about: Medicated Eye Drops For Dogs – When, Why, And How?
So, What Are The Main Causes For Growths On Dogs’ Eyes Your Vet May Identify?
- Skin tag on dog eyelid. Such tags can grow anywhere on the body including the dog’s eyelids. They are generally harmless and don’t need to be removed. However, when they grow on the eyelids they can obstruct your dog’s vision. Plus, as they’re not covered by the canine’s fur, they can be unseemly which is why most owners choose to have them removed.
- A blocked eye gland. Infections and inflammations in the eye glands can cause swellings. Such swollen eye glands can look like separate growths and can lead to other problems if left untreated.
- Histiocytomas. These small and red tumors can grow very fast and look quite threatening. They are especially common in young dogs but tend to shrink and disappear on their own after a while (a few weeks or months). If they persist, surgical removal may be necessary.
- Warts. As in humans, warts can sometimes grow on dogs’ eyelids. They are hairless, bumpy, and typically the same color as the eyelid itself. They are typically caused by the Papillomavirus but tend to resolve themselves after a while. It is a good idea to remove them surgically in older dogs, however.
- Meibomian gland adenoma and adenocarcinoma. These are masses that arise from the Meibomian gland of your dog’s eyes. These glands secrete oils meant to keep the eye’s tear film in a good condition. Such masses are typically pink and can grow to a pretty alarming size. This can cause bleeding and ulceration so surgical removal is strongly recommended.
- Melanoma. This is a non-cancerous type of eyelid tumor your dog can develop. It usually comes out of either the eyelid skin or from the pigmented eyelid margin. The latter used to be more problematic and obtrusive but both should be removed when you have the chance. cryotherapy and topical chemotherapy are also sometimes recommended as these tumors can occasionally become malignant.
- Cancerous eyelid tumors. Such tumors are unlikely but possible and they should be treated expediently and thoroughly. Red and fast-growing, they often ulcerate and causes bleedings, sight obstruction, and pain. Such cancerous tumors are the main reason why action should be taken as soon as you see anything growing on your dog’s eyelids.
What Are The Treatments For Such Growths On Dogs’ Eyes?
The exact treatment will depend on the cause of the problem but many do include surgical incisions. Blocked glands are an exception as they usually only need anti-inflammatory and/or antibiotic medications. Most other protrusions that don’t go away on their own will need a small V-shaped cut in the eyelid to be removed.
Such surgical cuts can sound very scary at first but recovery is typically quick and problem-free. In the case of larger and cancerous growths, larger cuts are often necessary. That’s yet another reason to act quickly if you see anything growing on your dog’s eyelid. Chemotherapy or cryotherapy is also often needed for cancerous tumors as the issue may have spread.
In even rarer and more unpleasant situations, enucleation may be necessary. This procedure is the surgical removal of the entire eye together with the rest of the affected tissue. While it’s unpleasant, if it saves your dog’s life, it is worth it.
The exact cost of surgical tissue removal will depend on the area you’re in and the size/state of the problem. Usually, surgical costs are about several hundred dollars. If you’ve left the problem untreated for too long or if you’re unlucky to face serious cancer, more serious surgeries can cost up to a couple of thousand dollars.
Eye surgery recovery can take time but usually passes pretty easily. Buster collars are recommended to prevent your dog from scratching and harming the eye. Your vet will also recommend certain medications based on the particular issue – usually anti-inflammatories. Lighter surgeries rarely take more than a week or two to recover while more significant procedures can take a bit longer.
In Conclusion – How Bad Is It If You find Growths On Dogs’ Eyes?
Stuff growing on your dog’s eye is harmless more often than not. Most of the common problems tend to resolve themselves after a while, especially in younger dogs. However, there is a risk for more problematic growths too which is why a quick vet consultation is often recommended.
Not only are cancerous eyelid tumors are a thing but even a non-cancerous growth can harm your dog’s eye or lead to infections and other problems. Eyelid surgeries can be pricey and often take a long recovery time but they are quite safe and are usually the right choice. In general, all you need to do is find a good vet and trust everything they recommend.