What Are Sarcoids?
Equine sarcoids are the most common skin tumour in the horse, accounting for 40% of all equine cancers. They are locally invasive tumours which are variable in appearance, location and rate of growth. Sarcoids are caused by Bovine Papilloma Virus, which may be spread by flies. Not all horses that are exposed to the virus develop sarcoids but, it appears that some horses are more susceptible than others. This also explains why horses that have sarcoids will stay susceptible and are more likely to grow additional sarcoids. People are often concerned about whether sarcoids are contagious because of the viral cause. No proof has yet been found that shows horse to horse contact can cause horses to develop sarcoids
Sarcoids mainly occur around the head and in the groin and axilla area.
They seldom affect a horse’s usefulness, unless they are in a position likely to be abraded by tack. They do not usually resolve on their own and most horses develop multiple sarcoids.