Happy Holidays !
Boy is it busy around here ! I was so glad when hubby Richard worked up this article about his continuing adventure with Sherlock’s Sarcoid and offered to let me post it to my sorely neglected blog ! Thank you Richard ! And keep those good questions coming – I will catch up after the holidays. Cherry Hill
A Simple Equine Sarcoid Treatment
by Richard Klimesh
January 2009. While grooming my 10-year-old gelding, Sherlock, I felt a small growth on his inner flank, about the size of a gum drop, in the crease where the flank joins the abdomen. It wasn’t sensitive and didn’t bother Sherlock so I simply made a mental note to check it periodically.
January 2010. The growth had increased to the size of a small walnut although the area of attachment seemed quite small (photo at left). It was neither soft nor hard – rather like squeezing an orange. It was not sensitive and was not causing any problems. Nevertheless, because it had doubled in size I sent photos to a veterinarian to get his opinion.
The vet said, “It’s probably a pedunculated sarcoid. Sarcoids are a common skin virus of horses. This one, based on my imperfect observations of one photo, is probably easily banded to remove. However, my recommendation with sarcoids is to always leave them alone unless they are causing some sort of problem. They represent no threat at all to the health of the horse, they only interfere with the tack if they are in a bad position. Sometimes when we remove them, we cause the virus to spread, however this is not much of a concern when we band them.”
I decided to take a wait-and-see approach.
March 9, 2010. I contacted my vet: “Next time you are up this way and you have time, would you stop in and take a close look at that growth on Sherlock? It seems to be getting larger and a small scab came off it a few days ago. I’m sure it bothers me more than it does Sherlock, but I’d like to get your first hand opinion so I can make definite plans to either do something about it or forget it.”
The vet came by a few days later and after examining the sarcoid he banded it – using a specialized hand tool he slipped a heavy duty rubber band over the sarcoid so it constricted around the base. This cuts off the blood supply to the tumor and eventually it drops off. I kept Sherlock in a pen so that I could collect the sarcoid when it dropped. I checked it every day and it got looser and looser and then began to smell and I thought it would never come off.
March 23, 2010. Two weeks after banding the sarcoid was gone. . . and was nowhere to be found in the pen. The place where it had attached looked healthy and pink so said good riddance to the sarcoid (so I thought) and turned Sherlock back out on pasture.
November 1, 2010. On my daily check of the horses I noticed some blood droplets on Sherlock’s left hind pastern. Examining him closer I found a new and different looking growth (fibroblastic sarcoid in photo at left) at the site of the previous sarcoid. It was being abraded when Sherlock moved, causing it to bleed. I contacted the vet. Here’s what he had to say:
“Sorry to see this has returned. Now it looks more cutaneous, flatter, and perhaps some XTerra might work. This is a topical ointment, a caustic debridement agent, that is made at Vetline in Fort Collins. Sometimes it works well, but the location of this lesion makes any treatment difficult. These sarcoids can be a bugger to beat. Maybe CSU [Colorado State University in nearby Fort Collins] has a freeze treatment, I don’t know but it might be worthwhile to consult with them. And of course it’s always a good idea to wait a while and see what develops. I don’t think he’s in much discomfort or danger from this. Good luck.”
I then did some web research and found XTerra that the vet mentioned, some other caustic treatments, a few herbal formulas all of which had mixed reviews.
I also came across several anecdotal accounts on horse forums of successful rapid elimination of equine sarcoids by application of Crest toothpaste.
Some who had used the toothpaste method speculated that it was the flouride in the toothpaste that killed the sarcoid virus. I figured if it was true that flouride was the healing agent then mouthwash containing flouride (which we just happened to have in the medicine cabinet) would be as effective as toothpaste and much easier to apply, since it could be sprayed on the tumor rather than applied by hand or with an applicator stick.
I began treatment, which consisted solely of spraying the sarcoid once daily with full strength commercial mouthwash (ACT Restoring brand) containing 0.05% sodium flouride. I used a small spray bottle that came in an eyeglass cleaning solution kit. This was very handy and easy to use. I found it very difficult to bend over and twist my head to get a good look at the sarcoid because of its location and doing so put my head in a vulnerable position should Sherlock suddenly bring his hind hoof forward. I found that with the small spray bottle I could remain upright and reach down with this little spray bottle and hit the sarcoid without looking.
Sherlock tolerated this daily treatment well. One reason is because I never had to touch the sarcoid to administer treatment. Also, Sherlock’s ground training had included thoroughly sacking out with a spray bottle of water.
Twenty days from the first spray the sarcoid had dried up and was sloughing. I put on a rubber glove, pulled an old sock over that and gently rubbed the dry tissue to remove it. This was done completely dry with no washing of the area.
The photo at left shows the site of the sarcoid immediately after the dry matter was brushed off. I have given no further treatment, but will commence at the first sign of new sarcoid development.
12 days later and site of the sloughed sarcoid is healing over nicely, with no sign of sarcoid.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet. As far as I know this method of treating sarcoids with flouride mouthwash has only been used by me and only in this one case. If you decide to try it, do so at your own risk. Please let me know how it works for you.