Cody's Eyelid Tumor

by  Krista Magnifico, DVM

One of the most common eye problems that we see are eyelid tumors. 

Cody after surgery

I see a lot of these. Most commonly they are seen in older dogs.

Luckily, in most cases the masses (I prefer the term 'mass' to 'tumor' although in veterinary medicine they are used synonymously), are benign cosmetic eyelid defects. In almost all cases we choose to monitor these masses very closely after they first are noticed.

There are a few exceptions to this;
  • Any pet that is having problems blinking.
  • Having discharge from the eye. Of greatest concern is any yellow or green discharge, excessive blinking, or squinting.
  • Any mass that is growing rapidly or taking up more than 1/4 of the eyelid margin.
  • Having multiple masses on the eye.

All eyelid tumors should be seen by the veterinarian as soon as they are noticed.

This is Cody's story of his eyelid mass.

His dad noticed a small mass on his lower eyelid many months ago. At that time we just decided to monitor it. That was until a few weeks ago when his dad thought that it began to cause Cody some discomfort.

Pre-operatively, Cody had a very thorough physical examination, pre-operative blood work, and we discussed post-operative concerns and recovery needs.

Cody is a very active but anxious boy. 

He is young, healthy, and the joy of his fathers' life.

In the exam room he is a flash of brown and white. He shakes, jumps, shivers, quivers and is completely unable to relax even a teensy-weensy bit. When you can finally grab him and try to hold him still his constant erratic motion transfers to his vocal chords where a squealing high pitched ear shattering bellow makes the ability to hold him impossible. Cody is a quark of an English Springer Spaniel flavor. (For an interesting read see any veterinary neurology text book and all of the, (shall I say) "unique" neurologic disorders Springers have).

I have seen him four times in the last 4 weeks to examine the mass on his lower right eyelid. 

Each trip has been met with the same unfortunate outcome. He cannot sit still, and I cannot adequately examine him. It is a fate that befalls some. We work around it, and we provide drugs to coerce compliance. Sometimes it is necessary, but always it is the last option. We scheduled surgery for this week.

The eyelid mass was visible grossly, but truth be told I was not able to identify how invasive it was while he was awake.

When Cody was placed under general anesthesia I saw for the first time how large the mass was.

The preliminary surgery plan was to safely and easily visualize the eyelid mass, resect it completely, and then rebuild the eyelid so that it remained functional and was as cosmetically pleasing (fancy-pants way of saying "looked good after").

I elected to remove the mass with our laser. 

The laser allows for a very precise cut with little to no bleeding. This causes less tissue trauma a very precise incision and a quicker procedure.

The mass was removed in its entirety. 

Cody went home with an e-collar so that he will not rub his eye, and an antibiotic ointment to keep the eye comfortable lubricated and free from infection.

For full description of the procedure and photos see How Do You Blink With Cauliflower In Your Eye? Eyelid Tumors .


Krista Magnifico, DVM owns a small animal hospital in northern Maryland, where she practices everyday. She wants to make quality veterinary care available to everyone, everywhere at any time; trying to save the world 1 wet nose @ a time.  Her blog is a diary of he day-to-day life & the animals and people she meets. 

Dr. Krista is also the founder of, free pet advice and assistance.

To contact her, you may leave a comment on her blog, email her or catch her on Twitter or Facebook.

Articles by Dr. Magnifico:
Don't Make This Mistake: Ruby's Death To Heat Stroke 
Parvo: Cora's Story 
Jake's Laryngeal Paralysis
The Tip Of The Iceberg: The Unexpected Dental Dilemma
The Ear Ache That Wasn't Going Away: Tottsie's Story