Sarcoids are serious business

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2016
Category: Animal Airwaves

Consider doing a skin scan while grooming your horse. Be on the lookout for lumps, crusts or sores, any of which could be sarcoids — the most common kind of equine cancer.

Sarcoid tumors can show up in horses of any age, but they usually appear in relatively young animals. The cancer is caused by a papillomavirus related to the one responsible for cervical cancer in women. And just as in people, a horse’s genes help determine their risk of the disease.

Theories abound as to how the papillomavirus gets a foothold. Some researchers think the virus enters wounds, and transmission by flies or shared equipment may also be involved.

From bumps to sores or wart-like lesions — sarcoids have many looks. And depending on the abnormality, treatment can vary. The important thing is to start with a checkup before things get out of hand.