Horses and STDS

By Susan Aiello • Published: August 1st, 2011
Category: Animal Airwaves

Understanding the basics of safe sex can help keep people safe from sexually transmitted diseases. It turns out horses might need a lesson, too.

Veterinary researchers from the U-K have identified an equine papillomavirus that may cause genital warts to progress to an aggressive form of skin cancer in both mares and stallions.

The new virus, known as EcPV2, has been found in most genital tumors that have been tested, but not within healthy equine tissues.

A similar infection known as human papillomavirus, or HPV, produces both genital warts and cervical cancer in people, adding credibility to the connection found in horses.

Why is this research so important? Finding the viral cause for equine genital cancer could lead to a preventive vaccine for horses.

And a vaccine to prevent cancer would certainly make people and animals feel safer.