Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eye Lid Tumors and Mocca's Story

There are several types of eye lid diseases that make your dog or cat look a little bizarre. Not all eye lid diseases will be mentioned in this blog, but among the most common ones that cause attention are: 

Eye Lid Tumors, at the top of my list,
Entropion, which is a rolling-in of the eyelid, 

Ectropion which is rolling out of the eye lid,
Distichiasis which is the abnormal growth of hair or eye lashes in inappropriate places, and
Prolapsed Third Eyelid Gland which is inflammation of the third eye lid to name a few. 

This blog will discuss the story of Mocca, a 14 year old Labrador with an eye lid tumor and what we did to treat it. When asked, the owners describe Mocca as the dog that “just keeps on living.”  Mocca came to Providence Veterinary Hospital as a puppy. He presented a few weeks ago with an eye lid tumor that he was scratching and rubbing and therefore his tumor would bleed occasionally. It was very unsightly and upsetting. 

To provide a little background, the eyelid is a common site of tumor formation in dogs. Most eyelid tumors occur in middle-aged to older animals. The vast majority of eyelid tumors in the dog are benign.

Mocca before surgery with eye lid tumor
Canine eyelid tumors often originate spontaneously from the glands located within the eyelid margin. Complete surgical removal is the recommended treatment and is usually curative.
Eyelid tumor enlargement can interfere with proper eyelid blinking and cause ocular irritation from rubbing of the tumor against the cornea, as was the case with Mocca.


Treatments for eyelid tumors may include one or more of the following:
  • The recommended treatment for most canine eyelid tumors is surgical removal, using either a scalpel or laser. Complete excision is usually curative for the benign eyelid tumor.
  • Large eyelid tumors may require surgical reconstructive techniques (plastic surgery) of the skin and tissues around the eyelid to preserve adequate protection of the eye after tumor removal.
  • If the tumor is large enough, the entire eye and tumor are taken to protect the pet against tumor spread (metastasis) or further destruction of the globe. 
The owners and I discussed the plan of surgical removal of the eye lid tumor with the probable plastic surgery correction. After a careful evaluation of Mocca’s health, I proceeded to remove the growth by taking a “pie” wedge out of the lid. The lid just can't be sutured together without causing lid tension and distortion of the upper eye lid.

A sliding skin graft was performed similar to the diagram above to keep the original eye lid tension. After ten days, the sutures were removed and everybody, especially Mocca, was happy.                                                                                                                          
Home Care and Prevention
 If an eyelid nodule or swelling is observed, call your veterinarian promptly. Immediate evaluation of the eyelid lesion is very important if accompanying symptoms of ocular discomfort are observed, such as increased blinking, tearing and redness of the eye.
Gently wipe away any eye discharge with a warm moist cloth as needed to keep the eyelid area clean. Do not allow the pet to rub or self-traumatize the eyelids. After diagnosis of an eyelid tumor, lubricating or antibiotic ointments may be prescribed until the time of surgical removal.
There is no preventive care for most types of eyelid tumors. It is well known that squamous cell carcinoma develops more commonly in dogs with pink or white eyelid margins that have prolonged sun exposure. Reducing sun exposure in these dogs by always allowing them shaded area may help to reduce the risk of developing this type of tumor.                                                                                           Mocca 10 days after surgery

The Providence Veterinary Hospital Blog is a publication of Peter Herman, VMD, at the Providence Veterinary Hospital, 2400 Providence Ave. in Chester, PA. Contact Dr. Herman at 610-872-4000 or visit us at http://www.providencevet.com.                                                    

* Diagram from "Current Techniques In Small Animal Surgery I; M. Joseph Bojrab; Lea & febiger, Philadelphia


  1. thank you for the interesting post and the information about eye-diseases.
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  4. How much does the surgery to remove the eyelid tumor cost?

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