It’s always best to have your veterinarian check any abnormality in your dog’s appearance to make sure it isn’t something serious. If your dog’s eyelid is swollen and appears red or purple, she probably has a hematoma, or bruise. While it may be harmless and easily treatable, a hematoma on the eyelid could be an indication of a more serious condition. Regardless of the cause, seeking immediate medical attention is always in your dog’s best interest.
Bruising on any part of your dog’s body is most commonly caused by an injury. Whether it is due to rough play with you or with another dog, or accidental like bumping into something, a blood blister or bruise can be the result. Your veterinarian should be able to tell without invasive testing if the hematoma on your dog’s eyelid is simply a bruise from an injury or something more serious.
Myeloprolifertive disorders are a group of cancers that can affect both humans and dogs. The symptoms are extensive and include purplish bruising on the eyelids as well as other areas of the body; but cancer is typically suspected only if other symptoms are present as well. Watch for lethargy, lack of appetite, increased thirst, vomiting and diarrhea, and possible seizures. The presence of any combination of these along with the hematoma would indicate the need for testing to determine whether or not it is cancer-related.
If the redness of your dog’s eyelid is attributed to conjunctivitis, it most likely isn’t an actual hematoma causing the redness. Conjunctivitis is most commonly attributed to allergies which, as is the case in humans, can cause swelling and redness of the eyelids. Occasionally the origin can be bacterial or viral, but your vet will be able to determine the cause and the best course of treatment.
Infrequently hematoma of the eyelid that is initially attributed to conjunctivitis will be found to be caused by an autoimmune disease such as Sjogren-like syndrome. One of the symptoms of this disease is inflammation of the tissue around the eyes, which can also cause the eyelids to appear bruised. Other than the condition of the dog’s eyes, inflammation of the gums and sores in the mouth are indicators that this syndrome may be causing the perceived hematoma of the eyelids. Proper diagnosis of Sjogren-like syndrome requires a thorough examination in addition to blood work before a course of treatment can be prescribed.
- David Standley, DVM; Blackfoot Animal Clinic; Blackfoot, Idaho
- Dog Time; Canine Cancer: Myeloproliferative Diseases; January 2010
- Photo Credit Dogs face image by adrian stones from Fotolia.com
- The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Prevention Magazine Editors; August 1997
- The Natural Vet's Guide to Preventing and Treating Cancer in Dogs; DVM Shawn Messonnier; March 2006
- Pet MD: Dog Symptom Checker