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.

A horse undergoing HDR treatment for a sarcoid around its eye

We are the only veterinary clinic in the UK offering high-dose radiation brachytherapy as a treatment option for sarcoids. We’re also researching into these tumours to find out more about how and why they occur, so we can find better ways to stop them.

Dr. Anna Hollis
Dr. Anna Hollis, Director of Equine Referral Clinic

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!

Find out more about our pioneering equine cancer treatments

100 the number of horses we have treated with HDR

90% More than 90% of difficult tumours have resolved successfully

Leading our research...

Dr. Anna Hollis

Dr. Anna Hollis

Director of Equine Referral Clinic

Anna is pioneering new ways to treat difficult cancers in horses and is undertaking research to better understand why equines develop sarcoids, to help us understand this cancer further.

Read Dr. Anna Hollis's bio

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