Dog Eyelid Tumours

Updated February 21, 2017

Eyelid tumours in dogs often grow from the glands located within the eyelid margin. Most of these tumours are benign. The cause of eyelid tumours is unknown.


According to Pet Place, the most common benign eyelid tumours in dogs are sebaceous gland (meibomian) adenoma, squamous papilloma and benign melanocytoma.

Malignant eyelid tumours that can grow in dogs include basal cell carcinoma, mast cell tumour, lymphosarcoma, malignant melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Two other rare tumours are sebaceous adenocarcinoma and fibrosarcoma.

Signs and Symptoms

The most obvious sign of an eyelid tumour is the appearance of the growth itself. The growth or surrounding area may appear swollen and red. Your dog may frequently paw or rub the eye, have minor bleeding from the eyelid or exhibit increased blinking or squinting. Other possible symptoms of eyelid tumours in dogs include excessive tearing, discharge from the eye, bloodshot or reddened conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white of the eye) or cloudiness, bluish haze or film covering the cornea.


To diagnose the growth on a dog's eyelid, in addition to a complete eye exam, the veterinarian may recommend other tests. These tests might include fluorescein staining of the cornea to check for foreign bodies in the eye or bacterial and fungal tests to check for infection. The vet may also do a biopsy on the tumour or do blood tests to check for cancer.


The treatment for most eyelid tumours is to remove them with surgery. According to Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, two procedures are available. The first is to numb the local area, cut away as much of the tumour as possible, then freeze the tumour site to kill any tumour cells left behind. This cryotherapy technique often works well and can be done more than once, if necessary.

If the tumour continues to grow after the cryotherapy, or if the tumour is very large, the second method is to anaesthetise the dog, remove a chunk of tissue with the tumour, then sew the eyelid back together.


Not all growths on a dog's eyelid are tumours. If you notice a growth on your dog's eye, take the dog to a veterinarian.

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About the Author

Carol Wiley started writing as a technical writer/editor in 1990, was a licensed massage therapist for almost 12 years and has been writing Web content since 2003. She has a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering, a Master of Business Administration, a Certificate in Technical Writing and Editing and a Certificate in Massage Therapy.