Eyelid Masses on a Middle Aged Dog

Small Tumors Should be Removed


I am a widowed senior citizen. I have a 10 year old miniature poodle. This little dog has lost most of her eyesight due to cataracts. For several months she has had sties appear on her right eye. She now has one that has grown to the size of an English pea. It does not seem to bother her. The sty seems to have some drainage.


Dr. Nichol:

Your poodle is not alone. We see a lot of eyelid masses in middle aged to older dogs. Most of these lumps cause irritations and secondary infections but they aren’t sties like what people get. It’s too bad our pets can’t speak a human language and tell us when they hurt.


There are a handful of different kinds of masses that can occur on canine eyelids; the most common are benign tarsal adenomas and their technically malignant cousins, tarsal adenocarcinomas. Arising from lubricating glands on the eyelid margins these tumors almost never spread. But over time your dog’s mass will continue to grow and cause her more trouble. It needs to be removed.


This isn’t a complicated procedure. Your veterinarian will give your little girl a short general anesthetic to remove the mass, which should be sent to a pathologist to be sure that no harmful tissue remains behind. Provided that your dog is in otherwise good health she ought to do just fine.


My final concern regards cataracts and blindness in a dog who is only 10 years old. This isn’t normal. Ask your veterinarian to submit a blood panel and urinalysis to screen for internal disorders. Uncontrolled diabetes, in particular, can cause cataracts and blindness. Advanced cataracts can lead to glaucoma. Your fine little dog needs to see her doctor soon.