Animal Science Blog

Animal Science

The Animal Science Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about scientific and technological topics related to pets, livestock, and other animals. See how cutting-edge advances help - or hinder - species around the world.

Previous in Blog: The Duct Tape – Woodpecker Fiasco   Next in Blog: Is Your Pet on Prozac?
Close
Close
Close
3 comments

Treating Equine Cancer

Posted July 23, 2008 12:01 AM by SavvyExacta

Horses, too, can receive radiation treatments for cancer. Although cancerous tumors such as melanomas (nodular masses) and sarcoids (skin tumors) are more common in small animals, they can also affect larger equine species. Fortunately, cancer in horses is treatable. There are several options.

Difficult Choices

Because of their relatively large size, horses should not be treated with radiation therapy for tumors that may metastasize (spread). For other types of tumors, here are some forms of radiation therapy:

  • Brachytherapy – short distance radiation
  • Pleisotherapy – very short distance radiation
  • Teletherapy/External Beam Therapy – distance radiation
  • Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) – targets tumors with correct dose; spares normal tissue

UC Davis Leads the Way

With the IMRT method used at the University of California Davis, a laser positioning system is used in conjunction with computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans (see photo) to target the area to be treated. Due to the concentration and specificity of the dose, fewer treatments are required. Treatments can be scheduled farther apart, too. Less frequent anesthesia is preferable when treating any animal, especially a large one that can injure itself as it struggles to rise.

UC Davis's Center for Companion Animal Health is more than a hospital for sick pets. Its veterinarians and scientists treat sick animals and perform research while hoping to apply those concepts to treatments and future cures for humans. In addition to the IMRT radiation treatment, equine drugs are tested for potential human use.

That's a Horse of a Different Color: Cancer in Horses

Gray horses are more predisposed to melanomas than horses of any other color. Is this because their relatively light-colored hair does not adequately shield their skin, or because gray horses are genetically predisposed to cancer? I'm not sure.

Gray horses tend to develop lumpy masses known as melanomas, which can often be benign (non-cancerous) rather than malignant (dangerous) around their tails and faces. Surface tumors on a horse's skin can be treated with creams or radiation. Tumors that are relatively close to the surface can also be treated with radiation; however, some tumors that are deep within a horse's body (including some parts of the intestinal tract) are incurable.

Resources:

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=12235&source=rss

http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/archives/2006/0607/009.shtml

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/horsecare/1370/58078.html

http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/Synthesis/issues/winter_08/features/campus_connection.html

http://www.cvmbs.colostate.edu/development/100year_historicalfacts.cfm

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.
Guru
Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Genetics - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: The Nevernever as much as possible, Earth when I have no choice.
Posts: 665
Good Answers: 11
#1

Re: Treating Equine Cancer

07/24/2008 11:40 PM

Dear SavvyExacta, I would suggest that you also check into the herbal formulation called "Essiac". It has been used (successfully I might add) to treat many forms of cancer in humans. Since it has no known negative side effects and is a natural herbal formulation, it could probably be added to the horse's feed.

Just a thought, Dragon

__________________
Ignorance is the beginning of knowledge. Heresy is the beginning of wisdom. The ignorant heretic is the wisest of all.
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - Lifelong New Yorker Popular Science - Biology - Animal Science Technical Fields - Technical Writing - Technical Writer

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 2409
Good Answers: 59
#2
In reply to #1

Re: Treating Equine Cancer

07/25/2008 7:27 AM

Hi Dragon - thanks for making a good point. In my research, I was sticking to some major equine publications that really didn't touch on alternative therapies, and forgot to research any myself. If you catch anything in its early stages, alternative choices like herbs can often be wonderful solutions or supplements to other treatment plans. One of my dogs is on an herbal allergy supplement instead of a nasty drug with side effects.

Reply
Guru
Popular Science - Cosmology - New Member Popular Science - Paleontology - New Member Popular Science - Weaponology - New Member Popular Science - Evolution - New Member Popular Science - Genetics - New Member Popular Science - Biology - New Member

Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: The Nevernever as much as possible, Earth when I have no choice.
Posts: 665
Good Answers: 11
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Treating Equine Cancer

07/25/2008 3:51 PM

Dear SavvyExacta, Not just in early stages. Rene Caisse, for whom Essiac is named, treated over 100,000 people the Canadian Medical Association and Doctors had diagnosed were terminal. Most were still alive to bury her when she died at the age of 90. Try Googling Rene Caisse and Essiac. You will get thousands of hits.

Regards Dragon

__________________
Ignorance is the beginning of knowledge. Heresy is the beginning of wisdom. The ignorant heretic is the wisest of all.
Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 3 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Previous in Blog: The Duct Tape – Woodpecker Fiasco   Next in Blog: Is Your Pet on Prozac?

Advertisement