What Is A Sarcoid On A Horse? The Unique Equine Tumor

Tumors and cancer are both conditions commonly found in humans and are just as common in horses. Different types of cancers appear for a variety of different reasons. In general, you may find skin cancer along with various types of internal cancers ...


What Is a Sarcoid On a Horse? Cancer, Tumour, or Both?

A common skin tumor found only in horses and ponies, that at first glance it may look like warts, but it is more likely a Sarcoid Tumour.

Sarcoid Locations

Sarcoids are most common in young to middle-aged horses and most often have a genetic predisposition for possible sarcoid growth.

What Do Sarcoids Look Like?

Tiny lumps that appear in clusters or as single tiny lumps. As the Sarcoid gets bigger the skin often ulcerates and will become infected. 

Sarcoid Treatment In Horses

Treating Sarcoids is very important and should be taken seriously. Often if a Sarcoid grows others will grow elsewhere on the horse’s body.

Treatment Options

Surgery – Surgical removal of a Sarcoid has a very high failure rate. The wound in most cases heals poorly, and the Sarcoid will usually come back.

Ligation – This can be a very painful option for the horse, especially if the Sarcoid is located in a delicate area. A tight band is placed around the base of the tumor and will cause it to fall off.

Cryotherapy – Under general anesthesia for pain, the tumor can be destroyed by freezing it. This treatment requires multiple lengthy treatments for treatment to be done safely and effectively.

Immune Therapy – Under heavy sedation, treatments involve an injection of BCG to stimulate the horse’s immune system to eliminate the tumor.

Topical Treatment – Special creams, of high metal makeup, have been successful in some cases, usually with smaller lesions.

Radiation Therapy –  This can be very effective as a treatment but the danger of radiation exposure makes this a very expensive choice and also requires the horse to be under general anesthesia.

Laser Removal – This treatment is a relatively new treatment option, but under standing sedation ...

Sarcoid tumors are not life-threatening. Their development can be annoying for the horse if it is located in a place that is irritated by tack or other areas that can produce friction. Horses can live a relatively normal life even if Sarcoids are present throughout their lifespan.


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