Sarcoids. Ugh.

Aero has had this on the inside of his left thigh for ages :


I knew all along what it was – a “flat” or “occult” sarcoid – but it wasn’t growing or showing any signs of ulcerating, so I hoped that it would stay dormant and not cause any trouble.

When the Osteopath was here two weeks ago, I noticed a little light-coloured bump in his jawline as he stretched out his head and neck during treatment.  Was it a big fat tick?

No such luck.  It was a small fibroblastic sarcoid.


My friend Sami over at HayNet wrote a really good article on sarcoids last year – you can read it here – but in a nutshell, sarcoids are caused by a virus – a bit like ordinary warts, but much more severe.

I first met sarcoids in a riding school livery pony years and years ago.  Max had big, ugly, ulcerated sarcoids.  There was one site near his ears and another between his front legs which kept causing trouble – the headpiece of the bridle irritated the one by his ears, and sometimes the one between his legs grew until it reached the girth-line – the biggest I ever saw it was about the size of a large man’s hand.  His owners had them treated surgically from time to time, but they invariably came back.



Our first horse, Trixie, popped up a sarcoid about a year after we bought her.  It was a nodular sarcoid – it stayed under the skin, with a covering of hair – and it grew to about the size of a golf-ball before we had it surgically removed.  Trixie was WAY too much horse for anyone’s first horse and the sarcoid was the last straw – we sold her shortly afterwards.

One of the earliest clients in my livery yard was a strapping Irish Draught gelding called Alf.  Poor old Alf was plagued with sarcoids all his life, but despite this, he was an outstanding show-jumper and even jumped in a couple of international classes at Millstreet Show.  His owner used to keep on top of the sarcoids herself by tying them off with rubber bands (the ones used for castrating lambs).  This, along with surgery a couple of times, kept them under control, but every year there was a fresh batch to treat.

I’ve also seen sarcoids treated with various toxic creams which caused the area surrounding the sarcoid to swell dramatically and eventually rupture, with the sarcoid basically falling out, hopefully dead.

The first time I heard of the use of Thuja in treating sarcoids was with my friend Anne’s (yes. Wanderly Wagons Anne) second horse, Dex.  When he put up a couple of warty-looking grey bumps, we all peered at them, hoping that they weren’t sarcoids but thinking that they probably were.  Anne’s vet prescribed a cytotoxic cream, but another friend, who was into Homeopathy, suggested using Thuja.  She did both, reasoning that it wouldn’t do any harm, and the sarcoids quickly responded and dropped off, but she was horrified at the severity of the cytotoxic cream.  The following year, Dex put up another suspicious grey bump and she reached straight for the Thuja.  Within weeks, the bump had disappeared – coincidence?

I think not.  I’ve now heard of several people using Thuja successfully to treat sarcoids, including one horse who had had repeated doses of the cytotoxic cream and repeated surgeries.  Thuja seemed to stop the sarcoids immediate return, and by starting a course of treatment the minute she saw any hint of a sarcoid, the owner has managed to keep them at bay ever since.  Sami from HayNet also successfully treated her horse Zeb with Thuja – read Part I here  and Part 2 here.

I’ve started Aero on a course of Thuja.  He’s getting five pills twice a day for five days days, then a break for five days, then start again and repeat until we see an improvement.  If this doesn’t work, I’ll go the veterinary route, but I reckon I’ve nothing to lose by trying – and a lot to gain!

I’ll keep you posted.

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