What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Lump, Bump, Growth on Eyelid


Masses on the eyelid are relatively common in horses. They usually occur in older horses as tumors that are slow-growing but hard to treat. For gray horses, melanoma is a very common cause of lumps and bumps in this area.

Sarcoid is another common growth in this area. Malignant masses are rare but do occur. They typically change rapidly and can invade the deeper tissues around the eye, making treatment increasingly difficult and the prognosis poor.

A variety of other small, benign, masses occur here too- cysts and abscesses involving the eyelid glands.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If you notice any change in appearance of the eye itself.
    • If the appearance of the mass seems to be changing rapidly.
  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If the eye appears otherwise normal.
    • If the problem is subtle or slowly changing.
You also might be observing
Very Common
Less Common
more observations

your role


What To Do

Due to the proximity to the eye, and the fact that surgical removal of large masses can be difficult or impossible without disrupting the function of the eyelid, it is very important to contact your veterinarian when you first notice lumps or bumps here.

When in doubt about the severity of a mass anywhere, take a photo and send it to your vet for their evaluation. Always look for masses elsewhere on the horse and report these to your vet.

your vet's role


Your vet assesses lumps here and determines whether surgery or some other treatment is indicated. This will depend on the lump's characteristics - size, location, speed of growth, and likely diagnosis. They may choose to biopsy the mass or simple treat it.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • How old is the horse?
  • Is the horse gray?
  • Describe the mass, where is it, and how large it is.
  • Does the eye seem to be affected at all?
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • Are there lumps or bumps elsewhere on the body?
  • Can you send me a photo?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

Very Common
Less Common
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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP