Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sarcoid Treatment

Earlier this year I started a sarcoid treatment for Boomer.  I started the treatment April 1, 2010 and my most current update is 6 months later.  I have been working on this post as I gathered more information.  

Boomer has always had a funny spot on his neck over his jugular behind his left jaw. It was there when I got him. At first I assumed it was a scar. Then I thought it was ring worm. I treated it for ringworm 3 or 4 times with no change. I treated other ring worm spots that healed within days. Obviously, not ringworm. The spot is about the size of a quarter and hairless. The skin is slightly puckered and tough. I had the vet out to look at it when we did spring stuff and he thinks it is a sarcoid. The only way to know for sure is to do a biopsy, which sometimes 'angers' a sarcoid and causes it to spread. So, I decided to treat it as if it were a sarcoid and see what happened.

I had clipped the area a few weeks ago to treat it as if it were ring worm (obviously failed). The medication we are using is XXTERRA. It is basically a counter irritant and causes the body to reject the sarcoid. The spot will get worse before it gets better.

Here is the sarcoid spot July 2009:

Here it is now, before treatment:

After two days of treatment the area around the sarcoid has raised and become hard/swollen. He seemed a little protective of it, but didn't act like it was too painful.

This is after 3 days of treatment:

It has started to develop a small yellow crusty spot in the top left corner.

After 4 days of treatment, I left it alone to do its thing. Here it is after 4 days with XXTERRA, 4 days without:

It has gotten larger and crusty. The edges are starting to peel a little. It seems like it will slough off easily in a few days. Not sure what to expect when that happens. If the Sarcoid is still there or comes back, I will retreat and that should take care of it for good.

Here it is after the sarcoid has started to lift. It has been peeling for about 4-5 days. It is almost ready to fall off.

Unfortunately, I stopped taking pictures after this.  I could see that the sarcoid was still there, you can see in the picture above that there is a small knot of crusty scab within the red area.  That is the original location of the sarcoid.  I treated again, 4 days with XXTERRA then rest.

In addition, with the first treatment a secondary sarcoid appeared a few inches above the first one.  At this point, I got a little frustrated, wondering if I was making things worse.  I went ahead and treated the new sarcoid with the same 4 days then rest treatment.

The following picture is from an endurance ride in May.  We were about 6 weeks out from the first treatment and about 4 weeks out from the second treatment.  One thing that surprised me was how quickly the secondary sarcoid healed but how slowly the original one healed.  You can see in this picture that the old spot is still red and 'angry'.  I had to explain over and over again to people that it is SUPPOSED to look like that.  Boomer did get to be known as 'the sarcoid horse' at the endurance rides this spring.  Nice, huh?

After that, I don't really have many pictures.  Everything started healing well and eventually the red spot got smaller and smaller until it scarred over.  Now that time has passed it is starting to grow hair again.  The secondary spot has full hair cover but it is sort of a swirl of hair, not laying flat.  

Here is the most current picture:

I think that the treatment was successful.  I still have over half of the 1oz jar of XXTERRA left, so even though it was expensive at almost $100 per ounce it was worth it to me.  

I recommend this treatment to anyone with a sarcoid, however I have no idea if it works as well for other types of sarcoids that may be raised like growths or warty.  Also, this treatment may not be very practical if the sarcoid is in a place that will be rubbed by tack.  


Story said...

Dee has a spot on her back that looks a lot like Boomer's spot in the most current picture. Hairless and featureless and about the size of a dime. She had it when I got her and I've tried putting various things on it and have never seen a change. The vet didn't think anything of it. But seeing this picture makes me think it may be the site of an old sarcoid. I should try to get a picture one of these evenings!

Heather said...

It would be interesting to see, I don't know if there would be any way to tell if it used to be a sarcoid just by looking. I bet you could ask her old owner. Sarcoids are mainly harmless but for some reason many insurance companies will not insure a horse who has a history of sarcoids. Not that Boomer is valuable enough to be insured... Well, not in financial terms :)

Paint Girl said...

My sisters Appaloosa has had a sarcoid on his face for about a year and a half now, she treated it with xxterra and it went away, came back, treated it again, went away and came back, I think it did this 3 or 4 times. The last treatment was last summer. Xxterra does work, but unfortunately sarcoids can be tough to beat.
I sure hope Boomer's doesn't come back!

Muddy K said...

My mare Scout came to me with a sarcoid set low on her neck, just in front of the wither on the right side. It didn't bother her, but it bothered me because it was constantly cracking and sloughing off. Xterra worked perfectly. I treated her with two courses during the spring and summer of 2005, and that was the end of it. What remains is a smooth scar partially concealed by thin hair. The sarcoid is gone, even five years later. I still have my tube of Xterra, because it was so expensive, but it was worth every penny!