Skin conditions of the horse

SCC depicted in the first photo, melanoma in the second and sarcoid in the third. (Courtesy photos)

By Dr. Molly Bellefeuille

Neoplastic tumors in the horse can be challenging to treat and typically require multiple consecutive treatments for a successful outcome. It takes dedication from both the owner and the veterinarian to have a successful outcome; however, sometime the neoplasia is so aggressive and malignant in nature that it is impossible to get complete remission for the patient. The three common skin tumors in horses are sarcoid, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each condition has a different appearance/presentation, and treatment.

Sarcoids are the most common tumor in horses worldwide. Sarcoids are fibroblastic neoplasms that are typically classified as benign tumors, although some of these tumors’ clinical behavior can only be described as malignant. Sites of predilection vary with geographic location and include face (muzzle, ears, and periocular region), distal limb, neck, ventral abdomen, and areas of previous injury and scarring. There has not been a specific cause identified for sarcoids, but the bovine papilloma virus is thought to be a potential contributor as it is present in nearly all sarcoid tissue examined. To read more pick up a copy of the May 2016 issue.