Saturday, July 28, 2007

Sarcoids in Horses

By Darlene M. Cox

When I purchased my appaloosa gelding five years ago, he had a warty-like blemish under his eye. At the pre-purchase exam, my vet told me this was a sarcoid, which is the most highly diagnosed type of benign (non-cancerous) tumor a horse can have. A second sarcoid later appeared on his canthus. Some breeds of horses are more prone to sarcoids, and of course, appaloosa was amongst that list. My vet advised me to keep an eye on it and that we wouldn’t need to do anything to it unless it started to grow.

I researched the equine sarcoid and learned that while the cause is not necessarily known, although it is suspected to be a papillomavirus most likely akin to bovines, it can be a very tenacious tumor to get rid of. There are four types of sarcoid: flat (occult) that looks like a flat, scaley lesion; verrucous (warty), appearing like a raised wart; fibrablastic, appearing as an easily irritated mass, subjected to bleeding; and a mixed form, one with two or more of the four types. The flat and sometimes verrucous types of sarcoid may not grow bigger or evolve into the fibroblastic type; they may remain statis or may even regress. The fibroblastic type, however, is the most aggressive type, and the one less likely to respond well to treatment. Skin that has received some type of trauma (cuts, injuries, incisions) may be prime sites for the formation of sarcoids. Many geldings present with sarcoids on their scrotal sac after having been gelded. The prime areas for sarcoids to appear are anywhere on the head, on the belly, or legs.

Since my gelding’s sarcoid was increasing in size, I decided it was time to investigate the types of treatment available for them. I was greatly concerned that even with treatment the sarcoid may come back. Treatment options range from surgical removal, cryotherapy, and immunotherapy. I found all of these options very pricey and equated through research that they may have to be repeated several times before the sarcoid was completely removed.

Luckily, my research and digging around led me to a product called Xxterra, which is an all natural, herbal remedy for equine sarcoids. I phoned the Colorado-based veterinarian who developed the product and discussed this treatment option with him. I purchased a jar of the Xxterra ($110) and began applying it over the sarcoid for five days straight. After the five days, I applied it every other day for a total of 10 treatments. After the fourth day, you could see the sarcoid and surrounding skin react to the topical dressing. After the 6th treatment, the skin was beginning to slough away and was hard and dry to the touch. After the 10 treatments, the old skin had completely sloughed off, but I could still see the ‘base’ of the sarcoid.

I bought a second jar of the compound and applied it as I did the first. At the end of this treatment session, the sarcoid was completely gone.

After the treatments had ended, I placed another call to the vet in Colorado and discussed the treatment plan.. I provided him with some positive feedback that I felt the application process should be modified to discontinuing the applications until the old, dead skin sloughed off, and treatments resumed with the product being placed on the base of the sarcoid after the first sloughing period ended. Doing it this way would possibly require less usage of the product and a reduction in expense.

While I don’t know if my treatment recommendation, why appreciated by the vet, was actually placed on the jar (there is a loss of revenue to be realized here, right?), I do know that others to whom I have referred use of this product and who subsequently used my treatment regimen, were able to rid their horses of sarcoids with only one jar of Xxterra.

Regardless, this product and treatment is much less expensive and invasive than the other options available.


B said...

I've had some ongoing issues with sarcoids in one of my mares. After trying just about everything from freezing to laser to surgically removing, I thought nothing could keep them from returning.

A friend of mine recommended Mushroom Matrix ECP for immune support and overall maintenance. I kid you not, within a month her sarcoids literally fell off. They started to turn dark in color and then within a week later had fallen off of the skin. I was mind boggled. The mushrooms have anti-angiogenisis compounds which cut off the blood supply to tumors. Evidently the sarcoid tumors died and then fell off. I couldn't be more pleased. Please pass this information along to anyone dealing with the never-ending battle with sarcoids.

carol said...

some people have had luck using toothpaste on sarcoids. I know this sounds silly but some contain Sanguinarine which is an active ingredent in bloodroot. This has been used historically for warts and tumors.

Aimee said...

My 6 y/o thoroughbred gelding has a sarcoid on the base of his ear that I have been battling for a few months. At first it was a pea-sized bump with dry gray skin that did not seem to bother him to touch. I used a brownish-reddish tube of medication from my vet that dried it up and it fell off, leaving a flat dry small patch of skin by his ear. I though we had beat it, but now, about 5 months later, his tumor has grown back larger than it was within weeks. Now he will hardly let me buckle his bridle or halter if it is close to that ear, let alone apply the ointment.
Any suggestions as to how to ease his discomfort or convince him to let me apply his treatments? I am to cover the area in the ointment every day for a week followed by a week off, and continue this until the tumor falls off. I would hate to sedate him in some way seven days in a row.

Anonymous said...

Nice dispatch and this enter helped me alot in my college assignement. Thanks you as your information.

Anonymous said...

I have a 26 yr old Quarter horse mare that just got sarcoids in her ears. I was talking to my vet this morning about it as I wasn't sure what it was. The vet suggested the Mushroom Matrix ECP and I was pleased to read your post. I will definitely try it. My farrier saw the mare the other day and he mentioned using Colgate toothpaste. But I'll stick with the vet's advice and hope I have good results like you.

Anonymous said...

I tried a homemade treatment for sarcoids that really works. I read about it in Perfect Horse, Sept. 2009, which is now out of print, and I modified the recipe a little to make the formula stick to the sarcoid. I didn't believe it was really going to work so I didn't take before and after pictures.

It's one part dry mustard, one part turmeric, (here's my addition) one part zinc oxide diaper rash paste. I mixed it up and put it on my horse's cauliflower-looking sarcoid that had been growing for a few years. I also started giving him a vitamin supplement with zinc once a week or so, because I noticed that several of the sarcoid cures out there have zinc as one of the ingredients. Anyway, for a month nothing happened. Then a red grape-looking growth appeared, which bled a little. I kept applying the mixture every day or every other day when I got around to it, still very much doubting that it was going to work. Then the grape fell off. Then days later, a small piece of cauliflower fell off. Then over the next couple of months, more and more pieces fell off until now, for the past several months, I can't even find the sarcoid, so I haven't been applying the mixture anymore.

People have a lot of trouble with sarcoids and try a lot of very expensive different things. This has worked on my Arabian horse, it's cheap, and it's not traumatic for the horse or owner, so it might help other horses. It's only been nine months, so it's possible it might come back, but it has worked amazingly well so far.