Horse people... Do you any have expereince with sarcoids?


11 Years
Jun 18, 2008
Asheboro NC
The 20yr old morab now has sarcoids on her ear.

Last summer she had ONE that looked like a fat feeding tick, No hair and grey. THIS summer she now has !5! All on the same ear. first one was on base of ear, now the new ones are smaller and 2 small on inside,2 small on outside. The hair at base of ear is gone. It is not ulcerated or bleeding. Last summer our trainer said leave it alone, or it may go crazy and grow many more.

This year since she has so many more, we are looking at possibly having them frozen off after flies are gone. I am alarmed at how rapidly we went from 1 to 5!! I have read a lot on them, and there does NOT seem to be a consensus on take off or leave alone.

She is 20, totally sound and my now 8yr old son is riding her on trail,ringwork, and local pee wee gymkhana stuff. I can NOT swear that her bridle does not touch or rub the sarcoid. It doesn't look like it but I can't say if it does when he is trotting etc.

Our vet does not lean either way, which is NOT comforting. She says it could go either way. When I brought up possibility of freezing AND then treating with Caustic agents, she said that could cause other issues with caustic agent being rubbed on other parts of body.

So does anyone have any experiences with these, either good or bad. I am looking for guidance on the leave it or treat it. TIA
Here is my suggestion for what is worth....

I agree with the vet on not using caustic agents on the ear...why cause a sound horse problems if you do not need to. Also, at 20 why put her through the removal of them if it not necessary at this point?

So I would keep them cleaned, wash with a good hypo=allergenic anti-bacterial soap being careful of course not to get water in her ear...use warm water...when the ear and all are dry, cover with a good triple antibiotic ointment, that will at least keep flies away from contacting directly with them. Stay on top of keeping them clean and covered and watch the situation. With a 20 year old I would be cautious and watch the situation until you have more more of them opped up, they change in appearance or her behavior/condition changes. Keep the vet on top of them too. It would not comfort me for my vet to be on the fence about anything....maybe call another vet for a second peek and get another opinion and suggestion.

I really like for my vet to be direct, advising and give me a no crap assessment, I cannot settle for less than that from my vet.

Good luck with her.
Did you let the vet biopsy them to confirm they're sarcoids rather than something else?

Most people I know have the sarcoids treated - there are various ways - removal, medication, and I think there are some new treatments out there.

Some do it yourselfers swear by crest toothpaste - some say it's the flouride in the toothpaste, others swear by other brandsof toothpaste with other ingredients and say the OTHER ingredient is what does it.

Personally? I would have the vet treat it.
I had a horse with one and the vet said to just leave it.
I agree with welsummer - did your vet rule out aural plaques?

Vet's diagnosis should not be iffy.

If your vet is not sure the growths are sarcoids then I'd be looking for a second opinion from another vet.
Well a lot of the time the vet is a fine vet, but just won't commit to a specific thing unless we let them do a biopsy or whatever they need to do to confirm.

I once had someone turn all the lights off in the barn and try to sell me a black horse with sarcoids all over him - had me ride in the outdoor arena which was dark too!

I didn't see the sarcoids, but I DID sit in my car and read the dressage tests they'd done....

Comments all over them like, "How do your arms feel?

In other words the animal pulled like a freight train.
My Arab gelding has one on his neck. He is a chestnut. I am just leaving it and watching it. It is very slow growing.
There are two geldings out where I board, I believe the vet said it can be viral but passing from cattle to horses, so only sometimes is it contagious.
ANyway.. I transported one of the geldings to the vet for his owner and she said this.

"You can have it removed, but when you do that... they seem to get angry and can come back bigger and more nasty than what they look like or are now."

So if its NOT hurting him, OR causing a major irritation..
Leave it alone.
Personally if we have a older horse having 1 sarcoid jump to having 5 sarcoids is concerning. It would tell us that this horses immune system is/has been challenged. Meaning there is a good possibility that there is something more going on with the horse. This is something that should be addressed by your vet or a vet that treats many sarcoids. Sarcoids are very common especially with the grey arabian. We always leave the sarcoids alone until we see changes in sizes and if they multiply quickly. I would get a second opinion.
This is similiar to my concern. I agree I think WOW her immune system must be weaker now!

Vet said it was a sarcoid but told me conventional wisdom is BIOPSY makes them angry and spread. So IF I wanted to do that she said take ALL of them and then biopsy. Vet said she has some experience with them but not a lot. My choices for vet are mine here at home, vet at trainers , who has helped us in past, or 2 large animal vets that do mostly cows, but won't turn down horse work. the vet I HAD used here , I am no longer happy with , because of the way they handled my full arabs last year of life. They don't know I am unhappy in case I need an emergency call, but they left a bad taste in my mouth.

I could go to the vet school, if it wasn't over the top expensive, but i can't day they would be better. I have read a lot,and vet said it was sarcoid, it does not have the proud flesh look it has the round nodular look to it. All I have read lends NO consensus as to treat or leave a lone. As the mare is sound and an easy keeper, I think she could go another 10 years.

If she was 20, and in rough shape, I would leave them alone.

My biggest concern is freeze them off, only to have them come back in a worse place that would endure regular trauma due to riding.

I think I will go back to trainers vet and see if SHE can find me someone in NC that has had a lot of expereince with these, Maybe that means the vet school.

I've had mare since she was 8 and she has been a good honest horse for us, I am looking to treat her right , she'll be with us till her last day.

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