"Gypsy gold does not chink and glitter. It gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark."

~ Saying of the Gladdagh Gypsies of Galway

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Sarcoid - Day 1

About a month an a half ago or so, we discovered a lump on Daisy's side. It was kinda like a pencil eraser, but a tad larger. It didn't seem to bother her and it wasn't pussing or oozing so I decided to monitor it and send a picture of it to my vet to see what he thought before I'd have him make a farm call.

I suspected, after some research and thumbing through my books, that it was a sarcoid. The vet thought it might also be an abscess from an old puncture wound. {puncture wound as in something tiny that we'd have never noticed and then it blew into something big} So, I treated it as an abscess and warm compressed it every evening in hopes that I'd get it to break, puss and heal on it's own. I did this for maybe two weeks to no avail so I took more photos and sent them off in an email to the vet. It was also growing in size. At this point, he agreed it was probably a sarcoid but he'd need to do a biopsy to be sure. Enter the farm call!

Boy was that a fun night. Trying to tranq a 300# mini mule is a lot harder than one would think and she ended up needed a little more of a dose than the vet estimated. She is just that bad ass....no pun intended ;) Don't let her size fool ya. So, to 'biopsy' her lump, the vet took what looked like a miniature apple corer and cored a nice chunk right outta the middle of the lump. He also took a second sample from nearby that was showing signs of also becoming something more. A quick stitch later and there she was, standing with a sleepy look on her face, wobbling like a drunk with her lower lip hanging and a touch of drool dropping out. Yes, it was a pathetic site to see for sure ;)

A week or so later, the results were in and they confirmed my guess; a Sarcoid. To best describe it {as other than gross} this is the terminology on the lab results:
Equine sarcoids are locally invasive tumors that may occur in multiple cutaneous sites but do not metastasize. Sarcoids occur most commonly in the skin of the head, legs and trunk and are often difficult to completely excise due to their invasive nature. Up to 50% of sarcoids recur locally following surgical excision. Bovine papillomavirus DNA has been demonstrated within neoplastic cells of sarcoids and these tumnors are thought to have a viral etiology"

So, for those of you who are not vets, this is the long and short of how my vet explained it to me. It is a form of cancer, but not the ugly type. I have to apply a paste to it 1x a day for 6 days and it should, during that period, inflame, puss and drain and then go away. Of all his clients that have used this paste, none of them have had the sarcoid come back.

So, he ordered the paste and I picked it up today on my way home from work. This evening Daisy had her first treatment. This is what the paste looks like; I had to apply it with a rubber glove. Usually I forgo the gloves for most things, but for this, the vet advised and even packed some with the paste for me ;)

And these are pics of the Sarcoid prior to the paste treatment. It is larger than a quarter and I can get my fingertips beneath it, between it and her skin. It is GROSS; it is like a mushroom cap growing on a stem, but thicker with a very short stem! It looks bloody, but really, it is not. The flys aggravate it to no avail when she is out. I have put Swat (a fly deterent for wounds) on it, but when she rolls and she is she is turned out, it does no go as she is just wiping it off!

The vet says nothing causes a Sarcoid; some horses (or in her case, mules!) are just prone to get them. It is almost like it is in their DNA and it is just a matter of time before it 'sprouts'. All I have to say, is thank goodness she'll be ok and it is not anything life threatening. And, thank goodness she doesn't have any like this poor horse....or goodness THIS poor horse....or good god this pooooor horse :(

PS: Guess I should have put the "don't read before lunch" disclaimer at the beginning of this blog post!

PSS: Stay tuned for updates on Days 2-6 of the treatment.


SocksAndMittens said...

I don't know much about horses or mules and never heard about anything like this. Can other pets get it, too or just horses? Poor Daisy, I hope she will get better soon

Unknown said...


I am unaware of sarcoids in dogs or cats, however, I am sure something in another form exists I would guess?

But, my vet did say it is not something that can be passed contagiously from Daisy to any of the other horses. Whew ;)

SocksAndMittens said...

Well, this is a good news at least (non contagious, I mean). Hope treatment is going well.

River said...

That paste looks like chocolate pudding! Lucky Mule!

a.M. said...

Hi Allison! Thanks for visiting. Here's a link for dating Ball jars:

Love your blog!

Seana said...

Poor Daisy :(

I hope everything clears up for her!