Ocular Tumors in Dogs

Common info

Ocular tumors are common in dogs. They are a consequence of the changes of tissues in the eye, which later develop as tumors. Tumors can be either benign or malignant. These kinds of disorders are caused by the injuries in the eyelid, cornea, conjunctiva, iris, and ciliary body. The common symptoms of ocular tumors in dogs include red and itchy eye, and blood in the eye, etc.


The cause of ocular tumors is unclear. But the wounds on the eyelid sebaceous gland will likely result in chronic inflammation. The dog breeds that often have conjunctivitis are more prone to experience this kind of tumor.


There are several types of ocular tumors in dogs, including: 

  • Eyelid Neoplasia: These tumors are quite severe as they can cause the dogs to disfigure. However, they are usually slow-growing.
  • Uveal Melanoma: There may be a mass on the iris or ciliary body. The blood vessels in this area are often found to rupture.
  • Limbal (Epibulbar) Melanoma: This tumor can be seen as mainly circular, pigmented masses on the cornea.
  • Corneal Squamous Cell Carcinoma:  The character of this tumor is a pink mass on the epithelial surface of the cornea.
  • Orbital Neoplasia:  This often occurs on the eyelid, with tumor protruding forward. There can be swelling of the conjunctiva and eyelid.


  • Red and itchy eye
  • Blood in the eye
  • Pigmented mass visible

The symptoms of ocular tumors in dogs include red and itchy eye, retinal tear, pigmented mass visible, irregular pupil, inflammation of the uvea, glaucoma caused by increased pressure in the eye, and blood in the eye.

Treatment and Prevention

An ocular surgery may be prescribed to prevent the spread of cancer to other parts of the body. If tumors are quite small, they may be removed by laser or cryosurgery, which is using extreme cold to kill the affected tissue. In some cases, when a surgery is impossible, radiation may be prescribed instead. Apart from these, there are also other alternatives available, such as hyperthermia or chemotherapy, etc.


  1. Wagwalking | Tumor of the Eye in Dogs
  2. Dog health guide | Causes and Treatment of Canine Eye Tumors
  3. Msdvetmanua | Cancers and Tumors of the Eye in Dogs
  4. Dubielzig, R. R. 1990. Ocular Neoplasia in Small Animals. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, 20(3), 837–848.
  5. Diters, R. w., Dubelzig, R. R., Aguirre, G. D., & Acland, G. M. 1983. Primary Ocular Melanoma in Dogs. Veterinary Pathology, 20(4), 379–395.
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