Metastasizing Melanoma

Can melanomas spread to a horse’s central nervous system? If so, are there any treatments available?
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

Metastasizing Melanoma
If a melanoma spreads to a horse's central nervous system, treatment isn't likely to be effective. | Photo: The Horse Staff

Q: There’s a gray lesson horse in his early 20s at my barn who has had melanoma growths under his tail for years. They don’t seem to cause him discomfort, and his riders always keep that area very clean. In the past week, however, he’s started losing his balance occasionally and is showing neurologic signs. The vet is coming out to see him, but is it possible that the melanoma has spread to his central nervous system? If so, is there anything that can be done? —Ashley, via e-mail

A: Your question is a good one, given this horse’s age and his long history of melanomas. The short answers to your questions are:

  1. Yes, metastasis (i.e., spread) of the melanomas to his central nervous system is certainly possible, and
  2. If metastasis has occurred, no treatment is likely to be effective.

A thorough veterinary physical exam can confirm that the horse is truly ataxic (incoordinated), rather than lame from a non-neurologic cause. If actual ataxia exists, a focused neurologic exam can define the precise location of a central nervous system lesion. This information can help generate a realistic list of possible causes, or differential diagnoses

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Harry W. Werner, VMD, is a Connecticut equine practitioner with special interests in lameness, purchase examinations, wellness care, and owner education. Dedicated staff, continuing education and technological advances enable his practice to offer high-quality patient care and client service in a smaller, general equine practice environment. A committed AAEP member since 1979, Dr. Werner is has served as AAEP Vice President and, in 2009, as AAEP President, and he is a past president of the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Do you use slow feeders or slow feed haynets for your horse? Tell us why or why not.
342 votes · 342 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!