Lego's Sarcoid Story

Lego's Sarcoid Story

Lego, an adorable Mustang adopted from the wild. 

Location, location, location! There is no good location for a sarcoid, but as far as “bad” locations go, the mouth and muzzle have to be ranked in the top five. You can buy topical treatments that burn sarcoids off but the application of that kind of product on the sensitive muzzle and lips of any horse is not advised.

In the beginning, Lego’s owner was restricted because she was unable to directly handle him. If you were to go with a painful course of treatment with a wild horse you might lose any chance you ever had of creating trust; the foundation for all of his future interactions with humans. So, his owner reached out to us because she liked the idea that she could feed him something natural and would clear his sarcoids from the inside out. The upper image in the middle is Day 1 (2/17/2023). 

It is important to keep in mind that the size or appearance of a sarcoid on the outside does not always give us a clear picture of what is happening UNDER the skin so it is impossible to predict how long it will take a horse to clear a tumor.

In this set of images from 3/15, 3/29, and 4/3 you can see that the sarcoid is changing. Pieces have fallen off and we also see that it extends further up Lego’s muzzle that we previously knew.

These images, taken one month later, are showing a  flattening in some areas, while other areas are inflamed and have a flaky scab-like crust  coming  off the top of the sarcoid. This is not unusual but is part of the inflammatory process that accompanies healing. A number of areas are showing great resolution of the sarcoidosis. It’s early in the process so we’re pleased but we may have a long way to go. 

In May we are able to get a much clearer view of the visible parts of the sarcoid. The initial inflammatory phase has slowed and chunks of dead sarcoid have sloughed off or have been absorbed and expelled by the body. The entire presentation of the sarcoid is different, which is not unusual. You can see dry, white, scabby material on the outer layer of the sarcoid (5/24). Tissue biopsies of that white flaky matter confirm that these are dead cells associated with sarcoidosis.

While most people would view the changes between May and June as the sarcoid getting worse, it is important to remember that the virus responsible for the tumor is not isolated to this spot and it is “alive”. It is not uncommon for us to see an ebb and flow as the body works to kill and expel these foreign invaders.

When we send horses to training we do our best to mitigate stress for them but most horse owners know that any change in environment can be difficult for them. Domesticated horses who are accustomed to traveling may find it easier to settle themselves, but Lego was a wild horse who has experienced significant stressors in a very short period of time. These images were taken when Lego was sent off for training at a different facility.  The sarcoid began growing rather aggressively during this time. In the image on the right you can see several large lumps under the skin and overall inflammation indicating sarcoid tumors above and around the visible tumor we had been following. It is impossible to know if this was a stress response or if this was another inflammatory phase in the battle to kill the sarcoid, but we opted to give Lego a double dose of the formula to get him back on track. 

I’m going to skip ahead to October, not because we didn’t see any activity but because it was more of the ebb and flow we’ve previously seen.

October into November is an interesting month. You can see the changing of the shape of the sarcoid as it continues its death spiral. Note that areas the sarcoid previously inhabited that were hairless now have hair growing not just around the edges but on the skin where the sarcoid previously sat. We assume this means the area is clear or nearly clear of the material that was previously inhibiting hair growth in that area. 

The image from February 5th is a good representation of how the sarcoid appeared for January and February. In horses with aural plaques, which also has a component of papilloma virus, we have noticed a slowing or cessation of clearing during the cold winter months. This has caused us to speculate that the virus has a period of dormancy during the cold, but when things warm up, we see changes again, changes like we see here. 

It is still impossible for us to tell Lego’s owner how much longer it will take for the sarcoid on his face to be gone but it is going and the process has been gentle for this wild little guy. Stay tuned!

~ From the desk of Mary Hartman, CEO and Founder

*This is a personal blog. Any information herein is not to be construed as medical advice.*

Tags: Sarcoidosis