Madison and the Meibomian Gland Tumor

Dr. Melissa Conrad

Madison, a six year old Labrador Retriever, was presented after her owner noticed a bump on Madison’s left eyelid. The bump had been present for a few months, but Madison recently started rubbing her face on the carpeting and pawing at her eye. The bump on Madison’s left upper eyelid margin was a small, pale, hairless, well defined nodule noted to be touching the cornea (transparent layer forming the front of the eye).

A fluorescein eye stain was performed to evaluate if the eyelid tumor was causing a corneal ulcer (damage to the outermost cell layers of the cornea). Madison had stain uptake which indicated that the cornea was ulcerated by the constant rubbing of the tumor on the eye surface.

Given that the mass was causing Madison discomfort, the owner elected surgical removal of the mass. Madison’s eyelid was clipped of all hair and the surgical site was scrubbed with betadine solution to help prevent infection. A pie shaped wedge incision was made around Madison’s eyelid tumor and the mass was removed. The incision was closed with tiny sutures, taking great care to perfectly align the edges of the eyelid (Madison insisted on perfect cosmetic closure so she could continue her super-model career). We submitted the mass for histopathology to make sure we got all of the mass, and to identify what kind of tumor it was. This allowed us to make recommendations for any further treatment that might be needed.

Madison’s eyelid tumor was determined to be a Meibomian Gland Tumor which is a non-cancerous tumor of the eyelid margin. The Meibomian Gland’s function in the body is to secrete sebum (oil) onto the cornea to help form the tear film and prevent corneal dryness. Meibomian Gland Tumors are the most common eyelid tumor in dogs and occur frequently in older animals. If the entire tumor is removed during surgery, the tumor will not grow back in that area (although some dogs will develop other tumors on the eyelids).

Madison did wonderfully through her surgery and she recovered at home under her owner’s loving care. Madison had to wear an Elizabeth Collar (Yes, the cone of shame) for her recovery period to prevent her from rubbing at her eyelid stitches. There is often a lot of resistance to this, but it’s very important since one good swipe can rip out the sutures in this very sensitive site. She was prescribed anti-inflammatory eye drops to help with inflammation at the surgical site and provide pain relief. Madison was also prescribed antibiotic eye drops to help prevent a bacterial infection at the corneal ulcer site. At the two week recheck appointment after surgery, Madison’s eyelid had fully healed and the corneal ulcer had fully resolved. Madison is now back to work as a super-model and you can expect to see her on the fanciest Chicago runways.

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