Sarcoids are a relatively common skin complaint and can affect horses of all ages. Sarcoids come in multiple forms (6 types in fact!), ranging from flat (occult) sarcoids to a rapid proliferate type (fibroblastic). All areas of skin may be affected; however, the most common locations include the inside of the back legs, sheath, armpits and face.

As sarcoids are a form of skin tumour, they should be treated promptly and with respect. Fortunately, sarcoids do not spread to internal organs and what you see externally is what you get. There are many over-the-counter products people often try before consulting their vet but such measures delay the correct treatment of these tumours giving them a chance to increase in size and for more lesions to develop. This in turn, makes them more difficult to treat.

The two most common treatment options involve surgical removal through the use of a laser or the application of a chemotherapy cream. The best therapeutic option ultimately depends on the type and location of the sarcoid and this will be determined following veterinary examination.

We are fortunate to have been able to offer laser treatment of sarcoids at Oakhill for many years. Depending on the location, the sarcoids are removed by laser either under standing sedation or under general anaesthesia. We have certain cases in which laser surgery is combined with adjunctive treatments including chemotherapy creams or injectable chemotherapeutic agents.

The laser site generally heals rapidly following surgery and horses resume small paddock turn out within days of the procedure.

If you are concerned about any skin lesion on your horse, please do not hesitate to get in touch with one of our team.