How does cancer affect horses?
Sarcoids around the eyes are the most common skin tumours affecting horses.
They frequently come back after they are removed. There are several types of sarcoid. Although they are very common and have significant welfare implications, relatively little research has been undertaken into how and why they occur, and why the different types are so different in appearance and behaviour.
Researching cancer in horses
As not much is known about sarcoids or how they behave, we’re looking to develop our understanding. If we can better understand their behaviour, we may be able to better predict their response to treatment, and tailor treatment accordingly.
We are pioneering the use of high-dose radiation brachytherapy and have found its use drastically shortens treatment times with impressive results. We’ve looked at varying the dose of radiation to get the best outcomes for each patient. So far, we’ve found we can increase the dose by up to 120% without causing any significant complications, giving a much higher chance of success in complicated cases. We expect this method will become the standard approach to the treatment of all tumours around the eye of the horse – another first from the Animal Health Trust!