Dog Eye Tumors & How They Are Treated

Tumors can develop in any part of your pup’s eye and could turn out to be benign or malignant. Here, our Charlotte vets discuss some common eye tumors seen in dogs, their symptoms and how they can be treated.

Types of Eye Tumors in Dogs

There are a number of different forms of cancers and benign tumors that can affect the various parts of your dog’s eyes including:

  • Melanoma: The most common malignant tumors in dogs and can occur on any part of the eye.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: These tumors are often found on the eyelids or conjunctiva and are usually slow-growing.
  • Lymphoma: These tumors originate in the lymphatic system and can spread to other parts of the body.
  • Mast cell tumors: These tumors can occur on the eyelids or conjunctiva and are usually benign.
  • Adenocarcinoma: These tumors can occur on the third eyelid or in the lacrimal gland and are often malignant.

Where Tumors May Develop In Your Dog’s Eye

Cancer can attack many parts of the eye. Some that our vets most commonly see include:

Eyelid Tumors

Eyelid tumors are a relatively common occurrence in dogs and can be benign or malignant. The most common types of dog eyelid tumors are meibomian gland adenomas and sebaceous gland adenomas. These tumors are usually benign, however, some eyelid tumors can be malignant, such as squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas, which can metastasize to other parts of the body if left untreated.

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Orbital Tumors

Orbital tumors in dogs are growths that develop in or around the eye. These tumors can be either benign or malignant and often originate from other parts of the eye such as the eyelids, conjunctiva, lacrimal gland, or muscles that control eye movement. Early detection and prompt treatment are essential to ensure the best possible outcome for affected dogs.

Corneal Tumors

Tumors of the cornea are a serious but relatively uncommon form of cancer in dogs. Corneal tumors can lead to vision loss and even blindness if left untreated. These tumors can arise from various cell types and can be either benign or malignant. Some of the most common types of corneal tumors in dogs include squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma, and fibrosarcoma.

Uveal Melanoma

Uveal melanoma is a type of cancer that affects the middle layer of the eye (uvea). It is a relatively rare condition, but it can be very serious and potentially life-threatening if left untreated. Uveal melanoma in dogs usually arises from the melanocytes, (cells that produce pigment in the eye). Early detection and prompt treatment can improve the chances of a positive outcome for dogs with uveal melanoma.

Symptoms of Eye Tumors in Dogs

The symptoms of eye tumors in dogs vary depending on the location and nature of the tumor. Some common symptoms include:

  • Swelling around the eye
  • Discharge or excessive tearing
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing or pawing at the eye
  • Discoloration of the iris or pupil
  • A bulging or swelling of the eye
  • Changes in the shape or size of the eye
  • Abnormalities in the eyelids or change of texture
  • Cloudy or hazy eyes
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Vision problems or loss of vision
  • Difficulty seeing in low light
  • Visible mass
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It is important to seek veterinary care promptly if you suspect that your dog may have an eye tumor to increase the chances of successful treatment and to help preserve your dog’s vision.

Diagnosis of Eye Tumors in Dogs

A diagnosis of eye tumors in dogs usually involves a thorough physical examination of the eye and surrounding structures, as well as an evaluation of the dog’s medical history. Your veterinarian may recommend additional testing to determine the type and extent of the tumor, such as a biopsy or diagnostic imaging (ultrasound scan, X-rays, MRI or CT scan).

Treatment of Eye Tumors in Dogs

The treatment of your dog’s eye tumor will depend upon the location and nature of the tumor but may include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, cryotherapy (killing the cells by freezing the tumor with liquid nitrogen), or removing the eye to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Veterinary Ophthalmology in Charlotte

At Carolina Veterinary Specialists our board-certified ophthalmologist specializes in treating eye diseases and disorders in pets including eye tumors in dogs.

We are able to provide the advanced diagnosis and care that many standard veterinary hospitals are unable to offer. Contact us to learn how your four-legged family member can be seen by our ophthalmologist.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet’s condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your dog appears to be experiencing eye irritation or pain contact Carolina Veterinary Specialists right away, our emergency vets are available 24/7 to care for your dog. For an appointment with our Board Certified Veterinary Ophthalmologist call us to learn more.