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Protect Your Dog's Vision By Watching Out For Mast Cell Tumors

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If your dog has a lump forming near their eye, it may be a mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are a type of cancer that can occur in dogs and are characterized by the presence of abnormal mast cells.

Mast cells are a type of immune cell that is responsible for releasing histamine in response to allergens. This type of cancer is common in dogs prone to allergy problems. 

While the word "cancer" is scary for pet parents, this type of cancer in dogs is very treatable and frequently results in excellent outcomes. Here's what you need to know about canine mast cell eye tumors.

Mast Cell Tumors are Found on the Skin and Around the Eyes of Older Dogs

While mast cell tumors can occur anywhere in the body, they are often found on the skin, particularly around the head and neck. In older dogs, mast cell tumors often form around the eyes. These tumors can be particularly concerning because they can affect the dog's vision if they aren't removed.

The Signs and Symptoms of Eye Mast Cell Tumors

Mast cell tumors are visible masses that are round in shape and either red or pink. Sometimes mast cell tumors have rough or ulcerated surfaces or are covered by hair.

Additional symptoms of mast cell tumors around the eye in dogs may include:

  • swelling or redness around the eye
  • eye discharge
  • excessively watery eyes
  • vision changes

In addition, the dog may also experience itchiness or discomfort in the affected area. Often they will rub the affected eye and cause the tumor to bleed.

Treatment of Eye Mast Cell Tumors

If you suspect your dog might have a mast cell tumor around their eye, it is crucial to seek veterinary care as soon as possible. The vet will perform a physical examination and may recommend a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment options for mast cell tumors depend on the tumor's size and location and the dog's overall health. Surgery is often the first line of treatment, followed by medications to help prevent cancer from returning.

Mast cell tumors around the eye can be a severe concern for dogs, but with prompt and appropriate treatment, many dogs can recover and live happy, healthy lives. 

A Final Note

If you suspect that your dog may have a mast cell tumor or are concerned about any changes in their behavior or appearance, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian to make an appointment. It is always better to get things checked out than worry about your dog's health!

For more information, contact a veterinarian near you.