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Melanomas


Squamous Cell Carcimona


between individuals and the virus can liveonpasturefor long lengths of time, fromwhereitcan affectnewhorses. Characterised by small,grey


nodules on the skin, thesewarts occur most commonlyon the face, especially the muzzle.They can also develop in other places on the body, such as in the ears (whereaural plaques areformed), around the pasterns,inthemouthand around the groin. Susceptible horses include those which areparticularly young, or those whoseimmunesystemis compromised e.g. in horses with Cushing’s disease.Most cases in young horseswhodevelop the disease will spontaneously resolveasthe body produces animmuneresponse against the virus.Ifanolder horse develops the disease forthe first time,itisless likely thanayoung horse to clear the virus and leave the skin clear fromwarts. Diagnosis of this disease is usually


by askinbiopsy,although treatment is not normally required asmany cases will spontaneously resolve. If a wart will not regress on itsownand treatmentisrequired,for example if itwaslocatedinanareaprone to becoming soreandulcerated,there arevarious options available including anti-wart creams or cryosurgery (which uses the application of extreme cold to destroy the affectedtissue).


Other commongrowths Thereare numerous causes of growths on equine skin and there aretoo manytomention in this article.The below-mentioned lumps areincluded due to their prevalence and severity.


Squamous Cell Carcinoma These tumours arefound on non- pigmented(pink) skin and therefore aremost commonaround the eye and the penis.They tend to affect older horses and can becomevery large,ulcerated and painful.Spread to internal organs during the laterstages of the disease can occur,highlighting the need forearly intervention. Various treatments areavailable for this tumour and the appropriate treatmentchoicewill depend on location, sizeand whether thereisany secondaryinfection present.


Melanoma Although anycolour horsemaybe affected, melanomas aretypically tumours of older,greyhorses.Most commonly found under the tail, the tumours can quickly change frombeing dormanttomalignant. Melanomas can spread to the internal organs and cause secondary problems such as colic or neurological symptoms.Again, treatmentchoices rely on various factors.


In conclusion, therearemanycauses of skin lumps in horses.Someare unlikely to cause problems andmay spontaneously resolvewhile otherscan seriously affectthe animal’s health and well-being.Itisthereforeimperative thatany changes in your horse’s skin areexamined byaVet and closely monitoredbyregularphotographyand measurements.Ifindoubt,remember thatalumpis easier to treatwhen it is smallerandbytreating it early,itislikely thatyouarepreventingamoredifficult treatmentroutefurther downthe line.


GemmaCarman BVetMedSci (Hons) BVMBVS MRCVSjoined Spring Paddocks EquineVets aftergraduating fromNottingham University. She enjoys all aspects of equine practice, particularly medicine.Inher sparetime,Gemma can be found competing her horseGollyGosh in various disciplines,especially dressage.


Spring PaddocksEquineVets can becontactedon01926612937 or visit:www.johnbrookvets.co.uk


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