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Tumors Can Be Common on Eyelids

Q: Our 8-year-old mixed cocker spaniel has been getting small growths on his eyelids, some of which seem to be getting larger. We had one removed about 1 1/2 years ago and were told that they were not cancerous. However, since there seem to be a few new ones, I am not so sure. He doesn’t seem to have any problems with his vision and they don’t seem to hurt him. What are these growths? Could they be cancerous?

Gary Gutierrez, Santa Ana

A: Tumor growths of the eyelids are fairly common in dogs, especially as they get older. The most common type is a benign tumor of a gland of the eyelid which is involved with tear and secretion production that keep the surface of the eye moist and clean. These masses can be surgically removed, often with a small portion of the eyelid to keep them from returning.

Cysts can also be formed when the duct is blocked. They generally do not get much larger and can also be surgically removed. There are also a variety of warts that can occur on the eyelids as well as pigmented tumors. While most of these are benign, they should be biopsied to rule out the chance of malignancy.

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I would advise having your dog seen by a veterinarian and recommend that these masses be excised. A biopsy may be necessary, especially if these growths are solid and pigmented.

Q: Is there any way to tell if a dog has been spayed? We found a stray mixed breed female dog and when we went to get her licensed, we had to pay extra because we couldn’t tell if she had been spayed.

Linda Albrecht, Garden Grove

A: It is very difficult to determine if a dog has been spayed without doing an exploratory surgery to examine the genital tract. A previous surgical scar on the abdomen could be an indication of other types of abdominal surgery. If you have had the dog for a year or more and she does not come into heat and there is a scar, you can reasonably assume the dog has been spayed. Your veterinarian may be able to supply you with a certificate that states, in his/her opinion, the dog has been spayed or is incapable of breeding, which would then lower your license fees.

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Got a question about your pet? Write to: Dr. Glenn Ericson, Ask The Vet, Orange County Life, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif. 92626. Ericson, a practicing Orange County veterinarian, is immediate past president of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Assn.


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