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Some horses will develop sarcoids and quite often the biggest challenge is finding the right treatment for the type of sarcoid and its location. This horse not only developed multiple sarcoids over his body, but unfortunately several were present around the eye (termed peri-ocular). These sarcoids are particularly challenging when developing a treatment plan. The biggest issue is that you cannot use any creams as they might get into the eye. Therefore we have to think slightly “out of the box”.

Types of sarcoid

  • Verrucous
  • Occult
  • Nodular
  • Fibroblastic
  • Mixed
  • Malevolent

Initial Presentation

Right Eye

Total Sarcoid Area

Sarcoid Area

We had to take a three staged approach to this case:

  1. Topically treating the area away from the eye.
  2. Surgically removing the sarcoid closer to the eye using laser therapy (see this link for more info)
  3. Referred the horse for electrochemotherpay for the sarcoid within the upper eyelid

Area treated with points 1 & 2

Combination Therpay

The Challenge

Sarcoid within the upper eyelid – the size of a walnut

Main Sarcoid

Due to this sarcoid being located within the eyelid itself we could not remove it via normal surgical techniques. If left it would continue to grow and probably result in the horse loosing its eye.

Therefore we referred this horse for ‘Electrochemotherapy”, which involved 3 general anaesthesia procedures where a drug called cisplatin was injected into the sarcoid, followed by passing a mild eclectic current through the sarcoid itself. It may sound strange, but his procedure has been shown to result in a 99.5% non-recurrence rate (within four years) *.

2012 Mar;44(2):214-20. doi: 10.1111/j.2042-3306.2011.00425.x. Epub 2011 Jul 27. ( see an abstract here )

Credits: The Royal Veterinary College (London) and a huge thank you to the horses owner for allowing us to use this footage / images.

The Result

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