Researchers successfully tackle equine sarcoids around eyes using novel approach


Researchers in Britain have successfully treated sarcoids around the eyes of horses taking a novel approach − a treatment known as high dose rate brachytherapy.

The procedure involves placing a measured dose of radioactive material at the site of the sarcoids. It allows higher total doses of radiation to be used to treat a smaller area and in a shorter time than is normally possible with conventional external beam radiation treatment.

Sarcoids are common in horses and are difficult to treat due to their location and invasive nature.

Animal Health Trust researchers Anna Hollis and Davide Berlato, writing in the journal Equine Veterinary Education, say radiotherapy is considered the gold standard treatment for these eye-related sarcoids.

Their findings suggest that the use of high dose rate brachytherapy (HDRB) may represent a safer and more effective method of delivering radiotherapy in the standing sedated horse.

They investigated a small case series to learn about the response rate and safety of HDRB for the treatment of sarcoids around the eye, which were confirmed by clinical diagnosis and biopsy.

Eight horses were treated with HDRB under standing sedation. Each was given two measured doses of ionising radiation delivered a week apart using a new HDRB technique.

“A complete response occurred in all cases,” the pair reported.

“No significant acute adverse effects were noted after treatment and the cosmetic result was excellent.”

Follow-up was available for between 10 and 12 months after treatment.

The pair acknowledged that the lack of long-term follow-up and the small case numbers were major limitations of the study.

They concluded that HDRB appeared to be an effective and safe method of treating sarcoids  around the eyes of horses.

Long-term follow-up was required to determine the risk of recurrence of treated lesions, they said.

Initial experience with high dose rate brachytherapy of periorbital sarcoids in the horse
A. R. Hollis and D. Berlato
DOI: 10.1111/eve.12782

The abstract of the study can be read here

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