Sarcoids are the most common nodular skin disease of the horse. They are locally invasive fibroblastic skin tumours. They are commonly known as “warts” or “angleberries”. However, they are different (and potentially more serious) from other sorts of warts or skin lumps such as papillomas or granulomas.
They have been found to be associated with Bovine Papilloma Virus (BPV) types 1 & 2 which affects the microRNA in fibroblasts (fibre producing cells) in skin cell lines which causes these cells to multiply in horses’ skin and lead to the sarcoid lumps. It is thought that eventually there will be a vaccine against sarcoids and there is some interesting work at the moment that has shown success using an outer coating of the BPV to “vaccinate” the horse against these viruses.
Sarcoids can appear anywhere on the body however there are a few places that they are seen more than others:
- Around the eyes
- In the axilla (under the front legs)
- Under the abdomen
- Around the sheath
- On the thigh area