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What is Conjunctival Dermoid?

A dermoid is an overgrowth of normal tissue. It isn’t cancerous but just grows in an inconvenient or inappropriate location. In the case of conjunctival dermoid, they grow on the delicate tissue of the inner eyelid or around the eye. They tend to be solid growths, but we do see cystic dermoids as well. With dermoid cysts, they often appear the same externally but are fluid filled.

What causes Conjunctival Dermoid in dogs?

There is no specific cause for dermoid growths. They are just a malfunction of the local cells growing on haired skin in places where it is not meant to be.

Are there different types of Conjunctival Dermoid? If yes, what are they?

Well, there aren’t different types of conjunctival dermoids, though we often see dermoids appear in other areas. In fact, often more concerning for owners is when we have dermoids that grow right on the cornea covering the eyeball. Those can be quite challenging since they can obstruct vision and can be quite difficult to remove safely from the eye’s surface.

What signs and symptoms would suggest that a dog might have Conjunctival Dermoid?

If a dog has a conjunctival dermoid that is causing other discomfort, they often will have a sore eye. They may have tearing, rub the eye, or try to hold it closed. Since the hairs on the dermoid can rub directly on the eyeball when a dog blinks, it can cause us to see corneal ulcers, corneal hazing (edema), and severe damage to the eye itself. Conjunctival dermoids can also increase the risk of bacterial infections of the eye.

How is canine Conjunctival Dermoid diagnosed?

Diagnosis for dermoids tend to be quite straightforward. Often a veterinarian can diagnose these with a good clinical suspicion with a clinical examination. It is possible to sample the growth via fine needle aspirate or biopsy to confirm the diagnosis. Though we often skip this step since it would require an anesthetic even before surgery. Therefore, to avoid having multiple anesthetics in a short period of time and to minimize costs for owners, we often remove the dermoid and then send it for analysis.

If an owner suspects Conjunctival Dermoid, when would be the right time to consult an Expert or to take the dog to a Vet?

If an owner suspects a dermoid is present, then it would be best to have it checked by their veterinarian as soon as possible. That way an owner can avoid any chance of the dermoid damaging the eye. Also, since dermoids are easier to remove when small, this can mean a less invasive surgery, shorter surgery times, and thus less cost to the owner.

How is Conjunctival Dermoid treated? Are there any home remedies?

Unfortunately, there are no home remedies for this type of growth. If the dermatoid is causing a bother, it usually needs to be removed surgically. This can be a delicate procedure since it is very close to the eye and is in a location where there is very little tissue to spare. Though if an owner is proactive and has it treated while still small, we often have good success at fully removing the dermoid.

How much can Conjunctival Dermoid treatment cost?

Generally speaking, this type of surgical procedure can cost a few hundred dollars for the operation, anesthesia, and aftercare. Though if the dermoid is allowed to grow overly large, this could make the operation more complicated leading to further costs.

What is the prognosis for a dog with Conjunctival Dermoid?

The prognosis with surgical removal is very good. As these dermoids do not tend to be directly attached to the eye, they tend to be easier to remove. Therefore, there is less risk of incomplete resection and regrowth.

Anything to note about a dog’s recovery from Conjunctival Dermoid?

Recovery is usually straightforward. Owners are usually sent home with a protective collar and pain relief for their dogs. It is imperative that both are used to ensure their dog is kept comfortable and also hasn’t any access to their eye. If they are able to paw or rub their eye, they can potentially damage the surgical site or even the eye. So, keeping the collar on is very important.

Is there anything else dog owners need to know about Conjunctival Dermoid?

Well, I would just remind owners that this isn’t cancer but does need to be quickly addressed if found on your dog’s inner eyelid. That way we can ensure the best outcome possible and avoid any harm to the eye.


About the Author:

Dr. B, Veterinary Expert on JustAnswer

Dr. B has been an Expert on JustAnswer since June 2011, with over 12,162 satisfied customers.

Dr. B has a Bachelors in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery from the University of Glasgow; a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Science and Aquaculture from the University of Davis, California; and a graduate certificate in Veterinary Forensic Science. She has been a veterinary surgeon for over eight years, and has practiced all over the country with a wide range of species (cats, dogs, fish, birds, cows and sheep). She has also been involved in a number of veterinary research projects helping further veterinary infectious disease knowledge.

Dr. B is a longtime member of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. Currently she is dividing her time between clinical practice and running the diagnostic laboratory for a UK veterinary school. This allows her to take care of her own patients while also assisting other veterinary surgeons throughout the country with their patients. In her spare time, she is a keen photographer, an amateur artist, and enjoys walking adventures with her St. Bernard

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