Grey horses and cancer

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Grey horses and cancer Empty Grey horses and cancer

Post by Admin on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:01 am

I have a question. I have a new horse that is grey. I am boarding him right now and the owner of the barn made a comment about how grey horses get skin cancer more often than other colors and now I'm really worried. Is this true? How common is it? Have I made a bad purchase? I really like this horse.


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Grey horses and cancer Empty Re: Grey horses and cancer

Post by Dr. Daniel Pike on Tue Mar 02, 2010 10:03 am

Grey Horses and Skin Tumors:

To bluntly answer your question: Yes, grey horses are more prone to developing skin tumors. They commonly develop melanomas, which develop as lumpy masses that are tightly associated with the skin. This tumors commonly are found around the anus, genital areas but can occur anywhere, and sometimes may be found within the abdomen. Although they may cause interference with closely related structures, they rarely invade other tissues and seldom metastasize, although they may be found in multiple areas.

The problem with the tumors is that they have no 'cure.' We often place these guys on the drug cimetidine, which is a histamine antagonsit to try and impede their development. Long term cimetidine treatment may prevent growth of tumors that arer already present.

Although these tumors are common, NOT all grey horses will get them. If your newly purchased horse has them, have your vet check them out, map them and monitor their growth. Otherwise, enjoy your new grey horse, and keep an eye out for any new 'bumps' in the problem areas.

Good luck,

Daniel Pike
Dr. Daniel Pike
Dr. Daniel Pike

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