Sarcoids

dollymix

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Hi folks – just after come opinions if possible. Apologies this could be a long post…

My mare Luna is homebred and her dam Dolly (who I also owned) had sarcoids as a 4 year old, one small nodular sarcoid on her eye lid (the corner of her eye) and two occult sarcoids high on her belly (near her udder – are they even called udders in horses?!) and one on the inside of her gaskin. These were treated by the vet at the time, the one of her eye using Zovorac (sp?) which is a human treatment for warts/cold sores and the two occult sarcoids using Liverpool from Dr Derek Knotenbelt (maybe spelt wrong)

They cleared up and never came back. She is now in her late teens and with the exception of a small patch of hairless skin near her eye you would never know she had them.

Luna (her foal) is now 11 and I noticed in summer a small circle of greyish skin appear on her udder. I wasn’t too worried about it as quite small, didn’t give her any irritation and although I had a slight inkling it might be an occult sarcoid (because of Dolly’s) I didn’t get the vet to look.

However, in the New year, I was grooming one morning and felt a very small lump above Luna’s eye (on the bit that sinks in on older horses). It was tiny – smaller than a pea so I just thought perhaps that she had banged it. But it has got a bit bigger (still only pea sized, but if you move the hair away you can see it is a hairless lump).

Anyway, vet came yesterday to do her annual vaccinations so I asked the question when she was there and the vet confirmed my suspicious that both are more than likely to be sarcoids (obviously can’t say 100% without testing them).

We spoke at length about them. Neither is in a place which causes any bother with tack or rugs etc, and neither does nay seem to irritate her at all. The vet herself said that it’s a tricky one and honestly couldn’t say what she would choose to do if it were her horse, in her mind there are four options:

We could leave them alone and they might never give her a moments trouble.

We could leave them alone and they might develop to be larger and more aggressive.

We could treat them and they might never come back again and leave no scarring etc.

We could treat them and they behave aggressively, come back worse than before.

Big Sigh!!

She discussed treatment options and said the latest thing is using a laser. The one on her eye could be done under sedation, but she would have to be anaesthetized for the one on her undercarriage.

We also discussed the pitfalls and merits of various ‘inside out’ ideas – such as supplements etc.

She said to have a think about it and if I decided to treat them to get in touch.

Well I am in a total quandary as to what to do now! I dutifully researched a fair bit last night (google is the worst thing for scaring yourself). I noticed a lot of people say (including posts on this forum) that lasering the sarcoids leaves a fairly nasty, gaping wound. Which to be honest I wouldn’t be happy with on her face! It would also mean she is out of action going into summer.

There is also a voice telling me that if I laser then, I could cause her a lot of pain for something which might never give her a moment’s bother! Although I know there is the chance if I leave them that they could get worse.

I read about various supplements, again with various reports, including one called Health Enhancement Herbs (what a horrendous name – sounds very unprofessional to me!). Has anyone ever successfully treated sarcoids through diet?!

Sorry for the long and rather convoluted post – as you can no doubt tell, I really have no idea how is the best way to proceed! Any opinions, experiences etc. much appreciated!
 

smja

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I would keep a careful watch over the next few months. Take pictures of them every week or so. Then line the pictures up in chronological order and see if there are any changes - it's so tricky to tell without photo evidence unless they're changing a lot.
If they aren't changing significantly, I'd leave alone. I'm currently doing this with my horse though not taking as many pics, because he's had the same sarcoids for at least 5 years! He previously had treatment for a big lameness-causing one that got incredibly aggressive after an attempt at surgical removal (before I had him), so I don't want to poke the sleeping dragon unless I really have to.
 

HelenS

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My youngster had 19 lasered by Prof Knottenbelt last October. Half were done by standing sedation, and the other half under general anaesthetic. It included one on his face under his left eye that had been lasered by another vet previously. Yes they did leave large open wounds, but they also healed very quickly, with the exception of one on his sheath that needed a bit more attention. I never touched any of the wounds, just left them to heal themselves. He has a scar on his face, but no where near the size of the sarcoid that was there previously. He has since had another two new ones lasered last month that have healed to the point of being practically invisible already.

From experience; and mine is similar in that my youngster's mother also had sarcoids on the udder at the same age as her son (her's were treated with Liverpool cream and never came back) I'd avoid letting the vet take a biopsy as it seems that it really will be poking a sleeping dragon; they tend to become aggressive if disturbed. It is a bit of a gamble as once you start treatment, if it is not successful the first time, then you will have to continue until it has gone. Some of my gelding's sarcoids have been treated 5 times over the past 4 years, but without a doubt the laser treatment has by far been the most successful.

Then there is the insurance issue. You will be asked when you first noticed the sarcoid and your cover will start from then. My policy covered me for 12 months from when I found the first sarcoid, then an exclusion was put onto the policy. So if you don't treat it now, and you have to in a few months time, you may find yourself short of cover. This recent consultation with the vet will be on your records which your insurer may wish to see.

When it comes to supplements, some people have success and it works, but it never has for me. So far I have tried every treatment, including some of the more homemade types like toothpaste, with limited success. Banding has removed one so far, cutting and freezing didn't work; they both grew back, bloodroot didn't work, Liverpool cream varied in it's success depending on location and type of sarcoid (he has mixed sarcoids), and the home made types like turmeric, wart ointment, homoeopathic remedies, toothpaste etc did absolutely nothing.

Perhaps in your position I may give it a few more weeks and see what happens. My experience shows that most of my youngster's sarcoids grow during coat changes at either end of the season. Hence he now goes to see Prof K every 6 months. Horses are changing their coats now and if it is going to develop, it will probably be around now that you see a change. Problem is of course, that every horse is different and what occurs with one doesn't necessary with another. As you can tell, sarcoids have been the bane of my life for the past 4 years!

Good luck with whatever option you take.
 
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