It is suggested in a report from Austria as another option for treating equine sarcoids.
Aciclovir, or acyclovir, is one of the most common anti-viral medications, being used primarily against herpesvirus infections such as herpes simplex in humans.
Dr S. Stadler, of the Pferdeklinik Tillysburg equine clinic, Austria, and colleagues at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Austria, and the University of Leipzig, Germany, reported the findings of their research in the journal, Veterinary Record.
In total, 47 sarcoids, on 22 horses, were included in the study.
They had been referred to the Pferdeklinik Tillysburg for treatment between 2006 and 2009. The diagnosis was confirmed by the presence of bovine papillomavirus type 1 or 2 (BVP 1/2) on swabs taken from the lesions.
The sarcoids were treated by topical application of 5 per cent aciclovir cream once daily for between two and six months.
All 47 sarcoids improved in response to treatment.
Complete regression was achieved in 32 lesions (68 per cent) — these were mainly occult or verrucous type lesions. Partial remission occurred in 15 cases (10 occult and 5 mixed sarcoids).
By June 2010 there had been no reports of any cases having recurred.
Thinner lesions appeared to respond better. The authors comment that this suggests that aciclovir’s action is limited by its ability to penetrate deeper tissue.
Aciclovir has benefits over some other treatment options for sarcoids in that it is relatively inexpensive, with no side effects, and can be easily applied.
In conclusion, the authors propose using aciclovir for treating mild-type sarcoids and in combination with other therapeutic options for more complicated cases.
Veterinary Record (2011) 168, 187 doi: 10.1136/vr.c5430