Unlimited access >


I think I’ve found a perfect horse however he has one sarcoidosis on his sheath, small and flat current owner has said vet has been out and advised it will come off on its own/doesn’t need treating but could have creams in meanwhile ? Price does definitely reflect this what are people’s thoughts ?

Sarcoids will fall off eventually, as soon as the body recognizes them as foreign.
It may take months for that.

Now, be sure that is what it is, not a squamous cell carcinoma.
SCCs do tend to grow very fast and look more like a round cauliflower and those can become invasive.
They need to be treated aggressively, some times even need amputation.
Horses do fine if SCCs can be eliminated by treatment and/or surgery.

We had a 28 year old horse with SCC and surgery and implanting cisplatin beads didn’t work first time around but did after the second surgery.
We never had to go on to amputation.
He was in remission when at 30 he had a pasture accident.

Just be sure what you have there, either way, in case you have more than a plain sarcoid.
Be sure a vet tells you that is what it is, not the seller.

OP, have you done/will you be doing a PPE?

What does your vet say about these, not the seller’s vet?


Often, not. I’m not sure I’ve even heard of a sarcoid being taken care of by the body on its own.

Sarcoids can just as easily grow and grow and grow.

OP, I too would want to know what your vet says, not what the current owner says their vet said.


No, please don’t just take the sellers assurances that they say their vet told them. You need a second opinion from a vet you hire to look at the horse.

Dont end up with a horse of a lifetime because it runs up a huge vet bill and breaks your heart. True, you’ll never forget it but…I had one of those, still think about it 30 years later. Ran up a few thousand in vet bills then had to be PTS at age 8. You don’t want that kind of horse of a lifetime.

Trust me. Pay for a simple vet check or keep looking, as I should have done. Ahhh, but I was in love with what I thought was the perfect horse and ignored an obvious yellow flag.


A sarcoid is a skin tumor. Papilloma are often confused with sarcoids and will go away on their own usually. I think that may be what Bluey was referring to?

You really need a vet to check it out. There are 6 different classifications of sarcoid and some more ominous than others.

I was given a horse who had sarcoids and had previously belonged to a veterinarian who had tried most everything under the sun for them (radiation pellets, chemo drugs, etc). I was able to keep the larger two at bay for several years with a topical treatment, but then they just started growing out of control. The horse also had one start growing on his abdominal wall and one threaded around his suspensory in his LF leg. We had to eventually put him down.

There are six different classifications of sarcoids based on their appearance.

  1. Nodular sarcoids
  • Firm, raised circular nodules
  • 5 – 20 mm in diameter
  • Usually in the sheath/groin area and eyelids
2. Fibroplastic sarcoids
  • Proliferative, fleshy, and ulcerative
  • Usually along the groin, lower legs, and eyelid
3. Verrucous sarcoids
  • Wart-like appearance
  • Can occur anywhere along face, body, and groin area
4. Occult or flat sarcoids
  • Flat, circular thickened areas
  • May also appear as small nodules 2 – 5 mm in diameter
  • Usually found on the neck, mouth, eyes, and inside of the thighs and upper forelegs
5. Malevolent sarcoids
  • Appear as multiple nodules
  • Are locally invasive and occasionally infiltrate the local lymphatic system, appearing like cords under the skin
6. Mixed sarcoids
  • Lesions appear as a mix of the ones mentioned above.
  • This type is more typical of a sarcoid that has been on the horse for a long time, or has experienced some sort of trauma.

I had a rapidly enlarging sarcoid surgically removed from my guys sheath. Keep in mind they often undermine. What you see on the surface could be more extensive underneath the skin. Surgery meant an overnight at the vet and about a month recovery (hard area to limit motion). Fingers crossed it hasn’t recurred. Vet did use cisplat beads to try to minimize risk of recurrence.
On the other hand my older guy had a flat sarcoid on his ear. It was ugly but harmless other than needing a fly hat with ears during fly season. That one did outgrow its blood supply and heal. You’d never know it was there and it was a solid 2cm in diameter at one time. Topicals did nothing for it including Aldera (sp?)
Good to differentiate type/location as can affect prognosis.
Hope you get some answers to make an informed decision.

My guy had a sarcoid on his side - for a year or 2 it didn’t change. Once it started growing (again), my vet surgically removed it, very wide and clear margin, and 10-ish years later it has never returned, nothing has popped up anywhere else.

I’d want something on the sheath addressed sooner rather than later, as there’s just not a lot of tissue that can be removed if it starts growing (especially if fast), so I’d really want to know what it is. The catch is that even the disturbance of taking a small pinch for a biopsy might set it off.

also - just because I just heard this story from a vet who ran a major state pathology lab after retiring from teaching - be sure to rule out habrenoma (summer sores) because he ran into two pathology requests for SCC (on the penis, not the sheath) and lo and behold, they were summer sores (these vets came of age after the advent of the avermectins, so had never seen summer/Florida sores, which some of us are painfully familiar with…)

1 Like