Vet view: spotlight on sarcoids

Sarcoids are like snowflakes, each one is different. So treatment is very varied too, as is the end result. Here, our vet Clara Sechi shares her experience of sarcoids.

“My horse, Lux, had four sarcoids. Three on his head and one on his left hind leg. The one on his leg was larger, but I was more concerned about the ones on his head, as they were growing quickly. I was studying to become a vet while this was going on, and so my Professor, E Sanna Passino, agreed to oversee Lux’s treatment.

We opted for a form of chemotherapy, since sarcoids are tumours. Medication was injected into the sarcoids on his face and leg over a period of five months, before we removed them by operation. The sarcoid that was very close to his eye was not injected, due to the risk, but was removed by surgery.

The results were excellent and we were very pleased with the outcome, with no regrowth over the next two years. Sadly, I lost Lux to a severe disease that was unrelated to his sarcoids and their treatment, but the experience gave me a valuable insight into dealing with sarcoids.”

Sarcoids are common, and used to be called warts, whereas they are actually a type of skin tumour. They are not usually painful, but they are problematic, as they can grow quickly and interfere with the eyes and joints of a horse; as well as areas where tack should fit.

There is very strong evidence that sarcoids are caused by a virus closely related or identical to the BPV (Bovine Papilloma Virus), found in cattle.

Some sarcoids regress of their own accord, and some reoccur. It is important for your vet to have a look, as what you think is a sarcoid may be something else entirely, and need a different approach.

There are multiple treatments available, from topical creams to lazer therapy.

To discuss options for your horse, call Simply Horses on 0191 385 9696

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