Eyelid Tumors

What are eyelid tumors?

Older dogs very commonly develop small, slowly growing masses on their eyelids. These masses most commonly arise from the eyelid meibomian glands (meibomian gland adenomas or adenocarcinomas) or melanocytes (melanomas), although other cell origins are possible. Meibomian gland adenomas are most common.

Should eyelid tumors be treated?

Most eyelid tumors are benign in that they are unlikely to spread to other organs. However, eyelid tumors may become inflamed, causing pain. Additionally, larger masses rub on the eye, or interfere with normal blinking and spread of the tear film.

How can eyelid tumors be treated?

  • Eyelid tumors can be surgically removed under general anesthesia. With this treatment, the incision is closed with fine suture material. The removed tumor can be submitted for histopathology to identify tissue of origin and if the tumor is benign or malignant. With surgical removal, your dog will have to wear an e-collar for 10-14 days following the procedure.
  • Eyelid tumors can also be removed using a laser. Depending on the temperament of the patient, this procedure may be done under sedation with a local anesthetic injection in the eyelid. This procedure will leave a visible defect in the eyelid, which heals slowly. There is no tissue that can be submitted for histopathology, because the laser burns away the tumor. With this procedure, the patient usually does not need to wear an e-collar.

Will the eyelid tumor come back?

In rare cases recurrence of the tumor is possible. If you notice a tumor on your dogs eyelid, it may be a recurrence or it may be a completely new tumor. Treatment is recommended.