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Types of Lumps and Bumps on Dogs’ Eyelids: The Safe & Harmful

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It is not normal for dogs to have bumps or lumps on their eyelids. A bump on your dog’s eyelid can be many things, such as a stye, cyst, wart, tumor, or something else. Contact your veterinarian if something grows on your dog’s eyelid.

Most dog owners treat their furry companion as a family member. This includes keeping them healthy.

You should not neglect your dog’s eye health, as the eyes are as important for our pets as they are for us.

Bumps or lumps on the eyelids of dogs can be scary and worrying, especially if it bothers our pets’ sight. Most eyelid bumps are common conditions, which are easy to diagnose and treat though.

In this article, you will find out what the bumps on dogs’ eyelids are, how dangerous they are, what you have to do, and how to treat them.

What Is the Bump on My Dog’s Eyelid?

A bump on your dog’s eyelid can be many things. The majority of bumps or lumps are caused by inflammatory issues, but they can also be cysts or tumors. Contact your veterinarian as soon as you notice a bump on your dog’s eyelid.

The eyelids are skin folds that cover the eyes, protecting them against impurities or potential injuries. They are bordered by eyelashes, formed by curved hair follicles, which in turn contain sebaceous glands.

When something happens or changes at eye level, numerous medical conditions can occur. These manifest themselves as bumps on dogs’ eyelids.

Dogs’ eyelids should generally be uniform, without swellings, bumps, or lumps. 

Bumps on dogs’ eyelids usually look like nodules, swellings, or outgrowths. In most cases, they are bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. Once the infection is treated, the bump goes away.

If you notice a bump or swelling on your dog’s eyelid, here is what it could be:

  • Chalazion
  • Stye
  • Blepharitis
  • Warts
  • Cherry eye
  • Tumors

Related: Bumps & Lumps on Dogs

Chalazion

Chalazion

Chalazion (or meibomian cysts) occurs when the meibomian glands get clogged. Meibomian glands are oil glands located in the eyelids, which secrete lipids that mix with tears and favor the lubrication of the cornea. 

In other words, the Meibomian glands keep dogs’ eyes moist.[1]

Inflammation (chalazion) occurs when the opening of the gland becomes clogged and oil accumulates inside the gland. Meibomian glands can become clogged for many reasons:

  • Benign tumors (Meibomian gland adenomas)
  • Malignant tumors (Meibomian gland adenocarcinomas)
  • Sand
  • Dirt
  • Locally injuries
  • Changes in sebum consistency

Chalazion appears on the lower edge of the upper or lower eyelid. This inflammation is neither infectious nor painful and occurs more frequently in old dogs.

Chalazion symptoms in dogs:

  • Bump on the eyelid (can have a yellowish color)
  • Inflammation and redness of the eyelid
  • Itchiness and scratching
  • No pain to touch
  • Infection

Hordeolum (Stye)

Hordeolum

Styes (internal or external) are often confused with chalazia. The main difference is that a stye is an infection, while chalazia are clogging of the meibomian gland.

  • An internal stye is an infection of the meibomian gland.
  • An external stye is an infection of the hair follicle (eyelash root) or sweat gland.

Hordeolum is painful to the touch and has bacterial causes. The infection is often caused by Staphylococcus aureus.

Styes are smaller than chalazia and look more like pimples than growths.[2]

Stye symptoms in dogs:

  • Painful red bump at the base of the eyelashes
  • The entire eyelid may swell
  • Red eyes
  • Photosensitivity
  • Scabs and crusts along the edge of the eyelids
  • Tearing

Blepharitis

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands on the eyelids. It usually affects both eyes, along the edges of the eyelids.

Inflammation occurs when the tiny sebaceous glands (at the base of the eyelashes) are obstructed. This causes irritation and redness of the eyelids. 

Several factors can cause blepharitis:

  • Bacteria (infectious)
  • Parasites
  • immune-mediated (rare)

Blepharitis is often a chronic condition as it’s difficult to treat. It can be aggravating, possibly affecting dogs’ vision.[3] 

It usually does not cause permanent eye damage and is not contagious.

Infectious (Bacterial) Blepharitis

Infectious blepharitis is most often caused by staphylococci or streptococci.

In bacterial infections, the Meibomian glands can also be affected. 

Symptoms of infectious blepharitis:

  • Inflamed, irritated, and red eyelids.
  • Eye discharge.
  • Crusts around the eyelids.
  • Ulcers of the edges of the eyelids and hair loss in chronic infections.

Parasitic Blepharitis

The mites responsible for demodectic mange (Demodex canis) and sarcoptic mange (Sarcoptes scabiei) can cause inflammation of the eyelids.

Demodex canis is a vermiform mite with a wide mouth (rostrum) and four pairs of atrophied limbs that live in hair follicles. 

This parasite can normally be found on a dog’s body. As long as your dog has a good immune system, the Demodex mite will not multiply.

It most often affects young dogs. In dogs around 10 months old, demodectic mange usually occurs around the eyes.

Symptoms of demodectic mange:

  • Hair loss around the eyes
  • Redness
  • Irritation
  • Skin peeling

These injuries are often infected with bacteria that lead to swelling, bumps on the eyelids, and eye discharge.

In old dogs, demodectic mange causes hair loss in patches all over the body.

Sarcoptes scabiei is the mite that causes sarcoptic mange. It is oval and is found in the upper layer of the skin where it digs to make tunnels. 

These mites move under dogs’ skin and cause intense itching.

Symptoms of sarcoptic mange:

  • Excessive biting and scratching of the area
  • Hair loss
  • Skin irritation
  • Thickened crusts and hair loss around the eyelids
  • Dry and cracked skin at the edges of the ears, the abdomen, and the elbows

Sarcoptic mange is also transmitted to humans and other animals.

Another type of parasitic blepharitis is caused by flies of the genus Cuterebra (also known as bot flies or warbles)[4]. They usually affect rodents and similar animals, but cases have also been reported in dogs and cats.

This type of fly lays its eggs near rodent burrows, where rodents, dogs, or cats can pick them up on their snouts or fur while sniffing. Once on a dog or other animal, the eggs embed themselves in the skin and transform into larvae within a few weeks. 

They are usually found in the nose or around the eyelids of pets. Here, they cause swelling (nodules) and pain.

Viral Papilloma (Warts)

Viral Papilloma

Viral papillomas, also called warts, are white, pink, or pigmented growths.[5] The infection is transmitted through contact with an infected dog. The incubation period for the virus is 1-2 months and they appear especially in young dogs. Papillomas can resolve spontaneously 1-2 months after they appear.

Warts are benign tumors that usually have a pedunculated, cauliflower-like appearance. They are generally found in and around the mouth, less often on the eyelids, or between the toes.

This virus is only transmissible to dogs; it is not transmissible to humans or other animals. 

For this reason, it is recommended not to let your dog play with dogs with papillomas. You should also keep your dog away from their toys, water, and food.

Related: White Spot on Dog’s Eye

Cherry Eye

Cherry Eye

Dogs have two lacrimal glands in each eye. One is located on the upper eyelid, and one is on the lower eyelid. The lower eyelid also contains the “third eyelid”: the nictitating membrane that protects and moistens the cornea.

Hyperplasia of the third eyelid gland in dogs (or cherry eye[6]) is inflammation of this membrane. It is a common condition in dogs. 

It especially occurs in the following breeds:

  • Cocker spaniel
  • Beagle
  • Bulldog
  • Shih Tzu
  • Boston terrier
  • Saint Bernard
  • pood
  • Boxer
  • Chow Chow
  • Cane Corso
  • German dog

The most obvious symptom of cherry eye in dogs is the red, swollen growth in the inner corner of the eye, which can appear suddenly. The condition can progress quickly and get worse if the dog scratches or rubs its eyes. 

Symptoms of cherry eye:

  • The appearance of a red, oval-shaped bump in the inner corner of the eye.
  • Eye irritation.
  • The dog may seem bothered by the swelling.
  • Dryness of the eye.
  • Abundant secretions of the affected eye.

Tumors

Several types of tumors affect the eyelids of dogs and cause localized or diffuse inflammation. Most tumors are benign and usually appear in dogs over 10 years old.

The most common eyelid tumors in dogs:

  • Meibomian gland adenoma – pink and lobular appearance.
  • Meibomian gland adenocarcinoma – a malignant tumor that resembles the adenoma of the Meibomian gland.
  • Melanoma – two types (usually benign) – a singular smooth growth or it can be flat and spread in all directions.
  • Histiocytoma – small pink tumor. It usually goes away on its own.

How to Treat a Bump on Your Dog’s Eyelid

Eyelid bumps should always be treated by a veterinarian and according to its recommendations. Don’t try to treat them at home without guidance as you can do more harm than good.

Eyelid conditionTreatment
ChalazionIt can disappear without treatment in about a month. If it does not disappear, warm compresses are placed over the affected eyelid at least four times a day for 10-15 minutes. If this remedy does not work either, cryotherapy under local anesthesia will be tried.
StyeDrainage, local antibiotic ointments, and warm compresses on the affected eyelid several times a day.
Infectious blepharitisOral antibiotics for three weeks. In severe inflammations, oral or local steroids can also be used.
Parasitic blepharitisFor demodectic and sarcoptic mange, antiparasitic medicines for bathing are prescribed. Oral antibiotics can also be recommended if there are overlapping secondary infections. For Cuterebra, the larvae will be removed from the eyelid under local anesthesia.
Viral papillomaThey usually resolve on their own. If they do not disappear, they will be surgically removed.
Cherry eyeAnti-inflammatory drugs or surgical ablation of the third eyelid, depending on the severity.
TumorsRegardless of the type of tumor, surgical removal is usually recommended. Local anesthesia is usually used for small tumors and general anesthesia for large tumors. Malignant tumors may require subsequent treatment (cytostatics, radiotherapy, etc.).
About Iulia Mihai (DVM)

Dr. Iulia is a certified veterinarian with more than 10 years of experience in the field. With extensive knowledge of diet, care, and medication, she helps Misfit Animals provide readers with accurate knowledge on technical topics.

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