Is Time the Best Treatment for Some Equine Sarcoids?

In a recent study nearly half the small sarcoids found on young horses regressed on their own over several years.
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Is Time the Best Treatment for Some Equine Sarcoids?
Sarcoids are skin tumors linked to papillomavirus infection. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Sarcoids are unsightly but benign skin tumors that present a real treatment challenge for owners and veterinarians. Despite years of research and a wide variety of treatments, few methods have proven successful in eliminating sarcoids. But what if we just leave them alone?

In a long-term study, Swiss researchers found that nearly half the small sarcoid tumors detected on their 3-year-old study horses regressed on their own over several years. Many others resolved with minimally invasive treatment methods.

“Our longitudinal study showed that it’s difficult to pronounce a prognosis on sarcoids,” said Fanny Berruex, DrMedVet., of the Swiss Institute of Equine Medicine, Agroscope, and the University of Bern Veterinary School. “However, the good news is that we found that 62% of the cases in our study had resolved within five years and, actually, most of those had resolved spontaneously, without any treatment at all.”

Berruex presented her work at the 2017 Swiss Equine Research Day, held earlier this year in Avenches

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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