Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Say Goodbye Ugly Sarcoid

I am not sure if anyone noticed in photos but Dickie had an ugly sarcoid in his left ear. I didn't know much about sarcoids until Dickie. Until then I thought it was just an ugly thing some horses have and no big deal to snip off. Apparently they can spread and get out of control. They aren't cancerous but can spread to places that affect a horses ability to be ridden. If you have a horse with just one or two sarcoids there is a good chance you will be able to get rid of the problem. If you have a horse with multiple sarcoids it is pretty likely that they will keep coming back. It is a virus that can be spread when the skin is broken on a sarcoid and flies crawl in another area of broken skin. It might seem easy just to snip one off but you might not get all of the infected tissue. If you leave any behind the virus goes into hyperdrive and you can end up with bigger sarcoid. That is why many people chose to just watch and wait. 

The good news is Dickie only had one sarcoid that was growing slowly. I kept his ears covered with a fly mask so hopefully it didn't spread. The other good news is that there are some new treatments out for sarcoids. One of the best treatments is removing the tumor then injecting a chemotherapy drug called Cisplatin. They come back every two weeks until they are sure the tumor isn't coming back. She thought she might need to come back two times.

I made a plan with the vet for removal back when I first brought Dickie home. We wanted to wait until the flies died down to schedule the appointment. We didn't have many flies at his current stable because we use feed through fly control. However, I didn't want to take any chances that flies might complicate the process. 

We weren't sure how complicated the removal would be. We didn't know if the tumor was embedded into cartilage. There also isn't much extra tissue over the ears which can make stitching difficult. Luckily it turned out the tumor was just hanging off the edge of his lower ear. She snipped it off with scissors and there was plenty of skin for some lovely stitches. She did such a great job!! Dickie did great too. They can't give a local anesthetic because it will dilate the blood vessels. This will keep the Cisplatin from staying where it needs to be. 

Sometimes the Cisplatin can ooze out after it is injected and the ear is a tricky place because just south is the eye. Cisplatin is a very toxic drug with even the vet uses special precautions so we don't want it an his eye. Luckily there wasn't even the tiniest drop coming out when I check on him several hours after the procedure. She said that she will probably only need to come back for one more dose rather than two or three more. 

The other scary part of the procedure was the fact we haven't used sedative on him before.The cardiologist assured us that he wouldn't have issues with sedation. You still worry though.... He ended up being just fine. He was snoring when I had to leave. I was able to go back to the barn to check on him and make sure he work up. He was bright eyed and begging for treats. 

Starting to get very sleepy....... You can see the ugly thing poking out form all his ear hair. 

Not too happy about the clippers in his ear. 

Sleeping with his tongue hanging out. Hehehehe

Sarcoid is all gone, time for medicine. 

This is Dickie with his head lowered. Notice the vet still has to stretch her arms tall.  He's got such a long neck. 

The nasty little bugger is all gone. 

Trying to keep his eyes open while he snores away. That is silver spray on his ear. 


  1. I had a QH with sarcoids. I did the cisplatin and it worked a treat. He did feel awful though from the treatment.

    1. Awe. Poor guy. What kind of symptoms? I'm hoping if he just needs one more tx he won't have to suffer too much.

  2. Dee is up to three sarcoids at the moment. One on her jaw, one between her front legs, and one on her shoulder. We've been doing the "keep an eye on it" thing but you made a great point about taking care of them while the flies are away. I think I will have another talk with my vet.

    I hope Dickie's treatment is very successful!

    1. I hate those ugly things! They are harmless until in a sensitive spot so its hard to know what to do. It was a pretty easy process since it was still small. You might not be able to ride her if they are near ur saddle but I don't think it takes too long to heal. Ill update you on the healing process!

  3. I am so impressed, and quite surprised, at how well Dickie has handled all this! Way to go!

  4. I never even noticed the sarcoid! I'm not the most observant person in the world lol. I'm glad it turned out to be fairly simple and I hope he only needs one more dose to take care of it. :D His little tongue hanging out is so cute!