Information for Owners and FAQ’s
Equine Medical Solutions provides expert advice to hundreds of veterinary practices every year. The advice is based on many years of experience in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of skin diseases and cancers in horses. Many of the conditions we see are challenging but we aim to give your horse the best chance of treatment possible.
AW5 Cream (sometimes known as Liverpool Cream) is only available to veterinary surgeons through our referral service. This treatment was developed by Professor Derek Knottenbelt to provide a cost effective method of treating Equine Sarcoid. The product has been successfully used in thousands of horses worldwide.
Can Sarcoids be spread from one horse to another?
There is currently no evidence that sarcoids can be transmitted from one horse to another, however if a horse is predisposed to sarcoids then having one sarcoid will increase the risk of another sarcoid developing on the affected horse.
Wounds are particularly problematic and it is thought that flies may be responsible for increasing the risk of sarcoid formation if they feed on ulcerated sarcoids and then move elsewhere on the body.
If another horse on the yard is predisposed to sarcoids this mechanism may also occur from one horse to another. As flies can fly very long distances the main focus needs to be on controlling the sarcoids in affected horses so that they are not attractive to flies and dealing promptly with any wound issues that arise so that they do not become contaminated.
Can a horse affected with sarcoids be used to breed?
If you breed from a horse that has had many sarcoids there is a high chance that its offspring will also be predisposed. However there is no test currently available that identifies a predisposition to sarcoid.
Are foals at risk if their dams have sarcoids?
The groin/udder region is commonly affected and so mares may have various forms of sarcoid that will come into direct contact with the foal while it feeds. Foals of mares with sarcoid are therefore at greater risk of developing sarcoid both because of their close relationship and because of the genetic link.
Mares with sarcoids that are used for breeding should be carefully examined and treated to ensure that the sarcoids are as small as possible when they foal. Bleeding, ulcerated sarcoids are the most risk to the foal particularly if the flies are not controlled.
Can you treat Sarcoids when the Mare is pregnant?
Surgical treatments that require sedation or anaesthesia will also carry risk to the unborn foal. Your vet will provide guidance on the best approach.
Treatment with chemical drugs of any form should probably be avoided in the first 120 days of pregnancy. Treatment of sarcoids before mating is preferable if at all possible.
When should I check for sarcoids on my horse?
Owners should perform a thorough examination of their horse in the springtime prior to summer turnout and seek advise promptly for any new lesions.
My horse had a sarcoid previously. Will it come back?
Some individual sarcoids can resolve on their own even when others on the same horse do not. There is no predictable time scale for this to occur – some cases will resolve totally within days after having been affected for years.
Horses treated for the disease (no matter how effective the treatment is) are always likely to develop new sarcoids at some point in the future.
Can horses get sarcoids from cattle?
The majority of horses developing sarcoids have no history of cattle contact at all so there is no value in avoiding cattle contact. Understanding if you horse is susceptible to sarcoids and taking sensible fly control measures is far more important than avoiding contact with cattle.
Can Flies spread sarcoids?
Are sarcoids caused by a virus?
Horses with sarcoids don’t appear to mount any sort immune response to the virus thought to be involved which means that a vaccine for this virus would not protect against sarcoids.