Thehorse.com - Full Article
by: Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc
April 23 2009,
The equine sarcoid is an unpredictable skin tumor capable of wreaking havoc on a horse's body. While not technically a "cancer" (neoplasm) in the pathological sense, sarcoids are often considered as such because they are a potential career- and even life-ending condition.
"Even the most benign-looking small lesion can erupt into a potentially catastrophic mass in a short period of time," reported Derek Knottenbelt, OBE, BVM&S, Dipl. ECEIM, MRCVS, from the Philip Leverhulme Hospital at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom at the 10th International Congress of World Equine Veterinary Association.
Despite the availability of multiple surgical, medical, and even holistic/alternative therapies, the sarcoid remains a clinical challenge because:
* The cause of sarcoids remains undetermined;
* There are six distinct clinical types of sarcoids each with different presentations;
* Obtaining a definitive diagnosis via biopsy is not widely embraced because interfering with a sarcoid in any way can cause a massive and uncontrollable expansion of the lesion, and;
* A myriad of treatment options exist, yet the prognosis is always "very guarded" and serious complications can arise secondary to treatment.