Eye tumor in dogs: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention


In dogs, eye tumors are usually begnines. But whether they are malignant or not serious, it is important to react as soon as possible to avoid aggravation of the situation.

What is an eye tumor in dogs?

While eye tumors in dogs are most often benign, tumor conditions malignant may turn out to be:

  • Primary (the eye tumor is the original tumor);
  • Secondary (the eye tumor is a metastasis from another distant tumor).

Eye tumors are likely to affect all structures of the eye: globe, eyelid, conjunctiva, nictitating membrane, lacrimal gland, cornea, uvea, etc. Melanomas can exceptionally spread to different parts of the eye and turn into tumors cancerous. By generating metastases, they then engage the dog’s vital prognosis.

We recense 2 types tumor damage in dogs:

1 – Tumors of the area of the eyeball concern the cornea, limbus and sclera;

2 – Tumors intraocular primary or metastatic usually involve the uvea but are rare. Ocular melanoma in dogs is the most common primary eyeball tumor. It is due to an abnormal proliferation of melanocytes, cells that make the melanin responsible for pigmentation different structures of the eye. Namely that some races canines (German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, Labrador, etc.) have a predisposition. A link exists in fact with the degree of pigmentation of the dress (the darker it is, the higher the prevalence of this type of tumor).

Location of eye tumors in dogs

Melanomas are usually localized at the level of 4 structures of the eye:

  • Theuvée (containing iris, ciliary body and choroid). The majority of cases correspond to non-cancerous tumors (melanocytomas) which do not generate metastases and not therefore not spread to other parts of the body. In its course, melanoma can form glaucoma causing pain in animals;
  • The envelope epibulbar (between the cornea and the conjunctiva). In this location, melanomas are mostly benign and conservative surgical treatment is possible with satisfactory results;
  • The free edge of eyelids. In this highly pigmented part of the eye, the melanomas are not serious, but surgical excision is nevertheless recommended if the lesion grows;
  • The conjunctiva. If this structure is rarely affected, the tumors are nevertheless aggressive and likely to cause distant metastases.

Symptoms of an eye tumor in dogs

The clinical signs are very variables and depend in particular on the structure of the affected eye, the type (surface, intraocular), the tumor behavior (benign, aggressive) and the stage of development. From symptoms :

  • Of color variations usually appear in the iris (brown spots on the white of the eye). The white of the eye may also develop a bloodshot appearance or redness at its edges;
  • A extension pupil or a swelling in the eye may indicate cancer. A pupil which is constantly dilated or whose shape changes from its usual circle should alert, as should a mass affecting any part of the eye;
  • A pain felt by your animal should not go unanswered from you. A dog expresses his suffering in different ways: he scratches the area around the eye, moans, displays squint outside or in a very bright room;
  • A change behavioral. Without manifestation of the symptoms mentioned above, you will be able to detect discomfort in your quadruped when he remains prostrate in his basket, loses his appetite, no longer plays, is listless, without energy … A visit to the veterinarian is necessary. imposes quickly.

Eye tumor in dogs: diagnosis

First, the veterinarian examines the possible presence of task in the dog’s eye as well as a change in appearance of the pigmented patches. However, this clinical examination alone does not allow a precise determination of the character benign or smart of disease. Ultrasound of the eye is indicated if intraocular neoplasia is suspected to assess the degree of proliferation and tumor infiltration. The biopsy necessary to confirm the cancerous nature of the disease does not constitute an innocuous intervention because it presents in particular a risk of hemorrhage.

Treatment of eye tumors in dogs

Treatments are possible and care is provided on a case-by-case basis depending on the characteristics tumor: location, benign or malignant, primary or secondary, stage of development, etc. benign, some vets prefer to wait before considering premature intervention on a functioning eye. In the presence of a tumor of area (cornea or sclera) in an elderly dog, regular monitoring is sometimes sufficient when the mass appears non-evolving. At a stage precocious, local laser treatment can be programmed to reduce the size of the tumor by slowing its growth. For intra-ocular melanoma or uveal melanoma, treatment may consist of more surgery invasive (local resection, enucleation or orbital exenteration).

Eye tumors in dogs: prevention

In reality, there is no remedy to prevent the development of an eye tumor in dogs. However, a surveillance regular eyesight and general behavior can make it easier to detection early in the disease. Intraocular or uveal melanomas frequently cause a complication in the form of glaucoma. This, allied to theinflammation intraocular generated by the development of the tumor causes severe pain. In this case, theenucleation (complete removal of the eye with closure of the eyelids) is recommended. Even if the vision remains good, surgery should be considered as a priority when cancer is suspected. This act of prevention can prevent metastatic proliferation as well aseuthanasia of the animal if the affection becomes general.