What is Dermoids in the Eye?
An ocular dermoid is made up of typical tissue found in your dog’s body, however it grows in an abnormal place. When tissue grows near your dog’s eyes or on your dog’s eyes, it can cause irritation and discomfort. This issue can be found in specific breeds in particular and is present at birth.
The ocular dermoid may present with discharge, irritation or an abnormal growth that you notice. While it may bother your dog and look odd, it does not necessarily mean there are health risks associated with it.
Dermoids of the eye, more commonly known as ocular dermoids, are simply normal tissue in an abnormal place. In this case, tissue grows on the cornea or the conjunctiva (the white of your dog’s eye and eyelid.)
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Symptoms of Dermoids in the Eye in Dogs
There are few symptoms, unfortunately, to be on the lookout for, however there are some things you may notice in your dog.
- Discharge in your dog’s eye
- Hair growing towards your dog’s eye that does not appear “normal”
- Irritation of your dog’s eye
- Your dog pawing, scratching or appearing to be bothered by his eye or eyes
- Growths on his eye, eyelid or surround eye area
- Cloudiness of his eye
- Typically, only impacts one eye
- Non progressive
Causes of Dermoids in the Eye in Dogs
There is no specific known cause of an ocular dermoid, however there are some specific things to be aware of and understand.
- Congenital meaning, they are present at birth
- No known cause, but thought to be a gestational abnormality
- Not hereditary
- Known to be more common in certain dog breeds: Dachshund, Doberman Pinscher, Dalmatian, St. Bernard, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever
Diagnosis of Dermoids in the Eye in Dogs
If you suspect there is a problem with your dog’s eyes and especially if he has a breed disposition, it may be wise to visit your veterinarian. When planning this visit there will be some information to think about and gather to share with the vet. You will want to pay attention to when you began to notice any issues in your dog’s eyes including hair growth, irritation, discharge, and cloudiness. It will be beneficial, if you adopted your dog or are not aware of his breed, to mention this to your veterinarian as well.
Your veterinarian will want to examine your dog and evaluate his eyes. This will tell the veterinarian if your dog has any lesions or abrasions on his eye or any growths on his eyelids, hair growing in towards his eye and more. Light sensitivity and vision testing may also help your veterinarian to make an appropriate diagnosis.
Treatment of Dermoids in the Eye in Dogs
Treatment options are limited to surgery which is typically noninvasive and has a good recovery prognosis. Treating an ocular dermoid is usually easily done with surgery.
Surgery is the primary treatment for an ocular dermoid and is done under general anesthesia. The surgery is done in order to remove any growths, inward growing hairs that are irritating or scratching your dog’s eyes and to remove lesions on the cornea or other areas of the eye.
On its own, surgery is typically enough to prevent the regrowth of an ocular dermoid as it is not a disorder that has regrowth potential. However, should the entire area not be done correctly or some of the dermoid left behind, it can reoccur from there.
After your dog has his surgery he will be administered oral antibiotics for up to 14 days. He may also be given a topical ointment, such as Chloramphenicol, to be used on the surgical site. An elizabethan cone may be needed so that he avoids hitting his eye, pawing at it or damaging his sutures. Lastly eye drops may be prescribed as well and these include Atropine sulfate (used to reduce swelling and pain in the eye), Gentamicin sulfate (used to help with infections or to prevent them), and Diclofenac sodium (also used to reduce swelling and inflammation).
Recovery of Dermoids in the Eye in Dogs
Recovery can take up to 2 weeks for medications being administered and at the 2 week mark the sutures may be taken out. Upon 4 weeks your dog will most likely no longer show any signs of pain or discomfort.
Your veterinarian may have you bring him in prior to the 2 week mark for stitch removal to see how he is healing. Your dog may need to wear a cone initially to avoid damaging the surgical site, but this will also be discussed with your veterinarian in regards to necessity and time frames.
Dermoids in the Eye Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
We just found that what looks to be a piece of an eyelid is actually growing almost in the center of our 7 wk old gs's right eye. It has what seem to be very long lashes growing from it. Her eye is not irritated and it doesn't seem to bother her (until the vet was trying to see exactly where they were coming from). Being that it seems to be actually ON and EMBEDDED IN the cornea, we are very afraid she will lose her eye. This is our 2nd time to get my daughter her favorite breed and the 1st, which still makes every member of our family cry, had an allergic reaction to the parvo vaccine. Ended up with hypertrophic osteodystrophy. We did everything possible, but it got so bad that we couldn't let him suffer any longer, and we let him go at the ripe old age of 6 months. Not sure how we will ever be able to afford her treatment for her eye. No idea what is in store for her. Our vet is contacting an ophthalmologist friend in Oklahoma city (About 2 hrs north of us) to get his advice. I am desperate to help our newest family member and ease the hearts of the family that love her so much. Thanks for listening.
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