Guest Author - Kim Wende
What are sarcoids? They are skin tumors and are thought to be caused by the bovine papillomavirus. Horses, mules and donkeys can get them and they can occur at any age. They are also an indication of a low immune system.
There are several different types of sarcoids and they can be very difficult to deal with. The most common locations for sarcoids are on the head, abdomen and legs, but they can be found other places too. Sarcoids can appear from trauma to an area or healed wounds.
Horses with sarcoids have a compromised immune system. It would be best to keep your horse away from feed that has preservatives and chemicals because this helps to deplete the immune system.
I've also had people tell me that the sarcoid got much worse after vaccinations and new ones appeared so you might want to take this into consideration. If you read the vaccine data sheet it states that vaccines should only be given to “healthy” horses. A horse with a sarcoid is not a healthy horse.
There are a few products on the market for sarcoids, but be careful as some of them cause the animal lots of discomfort. Be sure to consult your veterinarian before applying any product around the eye. If you choose to use one of these products make sure you do it during the winter because when it falls off there is an open sore and the flies will eat at it causing more discomfort.
There will be times that you have to apply the product more than one time to get the sarcoid removed.
There are also other approved methods for treating a sarcoid such as removing them surgically, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, laser therapy, cryotherapy along with a few others. Many people have reported that after surgical removal the sarcoid returns and sometimes with a vengeance.
Make sure you work on building the immune system because the virus can travel to other parts of the body and the sarcoid may return. A healthy immune system helps to protect them from infections and diseases.
An equine with a sarcoid often causes their value to be lower and depending on the location the horse may stop performing. If the sarcoid is in an area where the tack goes you will not be able to use them because of the irritation the tack will cause.
If you suspect your horse has a sarcoid it would be best to have a veterinarian exam it and get the proper diagnosis.