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There’s a Bump on My Dog’s Eye: Should I Worry? (Vet Answer)

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 18, 2023
Chihuahua with bump around its eye


Dr. Sharon Butzke Photo

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Imagine this: you are cuddling with your pup and casually move your hand to wipe away one of their eye boogers, but it doesn’t budge. Upon closer inspection, you realize there is actually a bump on your dog’s eyelid!

It is relatively common for dogs to get eyelid bumps, especially as they get older. Fortunately, though, even when the bumps are tumors, they are usually benign (i.e., not a type of cancer that spreads to other parts of the body).

In most cases you do not need to panic if you notice a bump on your pup’s eye, but it is still a good idea to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian promptly.

Keep reading to learn about some of the common types of eyelid bumps in dogs. To make things simple, they have each been given a “worry level” rating, based on the amount of intervention typically required and the prognosis for a complete cure.

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What Are the Most Common Eyelid Bumps in Dogs?

There are many different types of eyelid bumps in dogs. We will discuss some of the most common ones, which we have grouped into inflammatory conditions and tumors.

dog eyes infection
Image Credit: Tatiane Silva, Shutterstock

Inflammatory Eyelid Bumps

1. Chalazion

A chalazion forms when a meibomian gland in the eyelid becomes blocked (often by a Meibomian gland tumor). The gland’s oily secretions become trapped and eventually leak out into the surrounding tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. This results in the eyelid developing a localized swelling (i.e., bump).

Chalazia (plural) can grow quite large and are typically smooth and firm, but not painful. They are found on the inner surface of the eyelid (i.e., the part that touches the eye) and are usually yellowish in color. Surgery to remove the bump (and tumor, if there is one) should fix the problem.

Worry level: low to medium.


2. Hordeolum (Stye)

A hordeolum, more commonly referred to as a stye, is an inflamed eyelid gland. They may look similar to a chalazion but are tender when touched.

Treatment involves drainage of the affected gland(s), warm compresses, and antibiotic eye drops or ointment.

Worry level: low.

Vet examines the eyes of a sick Corgi dog
Image Credit: Roman Zaiets, Shutterstock

3. Blepharitis

The term blepharitis refers to inflammation of the eyelid(s). It can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Infections (bacterial, viral, or fungal)
  • Parasite infestations (e.g., Demodectic mange)
  • Immune-mediated conditions (e.g., allergies, lupus, pemphigus)

Blepharitis may result in multiple eyelid bumps or swelling of the whole lid. Affected eyelid(s) appear red, irritated, and sores may be present.

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, long-term management may be required (e.g., immune-mediated diseases, allergies).

Worry level: medium.

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Eyelid Tumors

1. Meibomian gland adenoma

These are the most common eyelid tumors in dogs, usually affecting middle-aged and older dogs. They can be a variety of colors (commonly pink or gray) and typically have an irregular (i.e., bumpy) surface.

Even though they are benign, they can be bothersome if they grow quite large and irritate the eye. Surgery is often recommended and should cure the problem.

Worry level: medium.


2. Papillomas

These eyelid tumors, which are caused by a virus (canine papillomavirus), occur most commonly in young dogs. They are usually pink or white in color (although they can be more pigmented) and have an irregular surface that is often described as similar to a cauliflower.

In many cases, they simply disappear on their own within a few months, but surgical removal may be recommended if your pup or its eye(s) are irritated by the tumor.

Worry level: low.

Bulldog with cherry eye
Image Credit: RescueWarrior, Pixabay

3. Melanomas

Melanomas usually have a distinct black color and can arise from either the skin of the eyelid or the eyelid margin. They typically occur in older dogs. Despite the fact that they often invade their surrounding tissue quite aggressively, they do not tend to metastasize to other parts of the body.

Cryotherapy (freezing) and chemotherapy may be needed in addition to surgery to treat these tumors.

Worry level: medium.

divider-pawWhat Should I Do if I Find a Bump on My Dog’s Eye?

It is always a good idea to have a new bump on your dog’s eyelid checked out by your veterinarian to determine the best course of action.

You may simply be advised to monitor your pup’s eye closely but, in some cases, surgical removal of the bump might be recommended right away. If surgery is the plan, it should be performed sooner than later to offer the best chance for a cure and a cosmetic outcome.

How Are Eyelid Bumps Treated?

If the bump is small, suspected to be benign, and not causing any problems for your dog, your veterinarian may simply recommend watching for any changes. If you notice the bump growing or changing, schedule a recheck appointment to discuss whether to continue monitoring or consider a new plan (e.g., surgery).

Your veterinarian is likely to suggest surgery if the bump is:

  • Growing quickly
  • Bothering your pup (i.e., they are pawing at the affected eye)
  • Negatively affecting the health of your dog’s eye (i.e., impairing their ability to blink, rubbing on the cornea, causing irritation or infection)

Surgery usually involves making a wedge-shaped incision around the bump to include any portion extending deep into the eyelid. There is a better chance of removing the entire bump and achieving a cosmetic result if surgery is performed when the bump is still small. Eyelids do not have a lot of extra tissue to work with!

After the bump is removed, your veterinarian may offer you the option of sending it away for testing to obtain an exact diagnosis.

vet checking dog's eyes
Image Credit: Shine Nucha, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

Finding a bump on your dog’s eyelid can be scary, but luckily most of the common culprits do not pose a serious threat to your pup’s health. Despite this, it is a good idea to have the bump checked out sooner rather than later. Your veterinarian will help you decide whether you should consider surgery right away or adopt more of a wait-and-see approach.


Featured Image Credit: Oriohori Shutterstock

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