Sarcoids are a form of skin cancer.
If you notice any new lesion on your horse you should contact your vet to make sure its not something worrying.
Sarcoids can progress rapidly and can become harder to treat. We strongly advise that you seek veterinary advice and do not rely on advice from friends or internet discussion forums as these often suggest treatments that can make the tumour worse.
Sarcoids are not easy to treat and if an inappropriate treatment is applied it can make it much harder for the most effective treatments to work.
The internet is full of remedies that claim to cure, treat or prevent sarcoids. Always remember that every lesion is different and your vet can accurately identify all your horses lesions.
Treatment needs to be tailored to the location and the type of sarcoid involved and take into account the extent of disease and any other conditions your horse may have. Advice from unqualified people may appear to be cheaper but could cost more in the longterm.
Horses that develop Sarcoids are at high risk of developing more. The lesions can also come back in the same place.
If you own a horse that has had sarcoid in the past you should check its body regularly especially over winter when it can be harder to see skin lesions.
Buying a Horse with Sarcoids
Always ask the seller if the horse has had any sarcoids if you are considering purchasing a horse.
The seller is responsible for declaring whether the horse has ever had sarcoid even if they are cured, self-resolved or still present.
Just because a horse has had or has sarcoids does not mean you shouldn’t buy it if it is perfect in all other respects, BUT its commercial value will often be less because of the sarcoids which if still present will require treatment (this may not apply to high performance racehorses etc).
Sarcoid lesions are a major cause of failure at pre-purchase examination.
Scars at old sarcoid sites can be mistaken for wound scars, so purchasers and vets need to be very careful!
Many vets have a harsh attitude towards sarcoids and will advise against purchase, however the buyer should base the decision on the whole package and the advice that the vet gives. Sometimes a vet will ask for a second opinion from us on a vetting which will usually outline prospective treatment options and costs.
Insurance companies will not accept the risk of sarcoids. If the horse has even a single suspicious lesion when you apply for insurance or has a history of having had sarcoids the insurance will usually not cover for them. Prior to finalising a purchase you should confirm your position with your insurance company.
If you decide to purchase a horse with sarcoids it is usually better to get them treated sooner rather than later. Treatment is likely to be ongoing and can become expensive if repeated treatments throughout the life of the horse are required.