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We all want our horses to remain fit and healthy for as long as possible. But just like humans, it can often be easy to miss an injury or condition that appears at first glance to be innocuous. It is understandable that, as the weather becomes more pleasant, both you and your horse will be eager to get out and about. Sarcoids can initially just appear to be warts but they could have much more serious ramifications than that. We spoke to our horse health experts to find out some key points on Sarcoids…

– Sarcoids are the most common equine skin growth and are best thought of as a form of cancer. They are comprised of ‘fibroblasts’

– There are six different types: Mixed, malignant, verrucous, occult, nodular, fibroblastic

– Some are benign lesions, while others can be more malignant and more aggressive

– Sarcoids can develop at any age but are common in young horses

– A virus may be involved in their spread

– Sarcoids are attractive to flies, especially in the summer, and they can end up as open sores which won’t heal. They also increase the chances of more Sarcoids appearing

– They can seriously devalue your horse. When buying a horse, look out for lumps and get them checked out even if you are told they are just warts

– The skin growths can cause serious problems if they develop in areas of wound healing

– If you suspect there may be an issue, do not delay in contacting your vet so that you can begin treatment as soon as possible


There are various treatment options available and some are more successful than others. They range in type and, because Sarcoids are classed as cancerous, some methods will be very similar to cancer treatment.

– Surgical removal

– Cryotherapy

– Ligation

– Chemotherapy

– Topical cytotoxic agents (such as Leahurst Sarcoid Cream)

– Radiation therapy

While horses will not actually die of Sarcoids, they can cause them pain and mean that they do not lead as full and healthy life as possible. In some severe situations horses can be destroyed as the tumours stop them from working or enjoying an adequate quality of life, so it is important to bear all of the above in mind.

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