Clients & Visitors

Tumor Treatment at the EMC


Early identification and prompt attention are important in the successful management of equine tumors. Here, a mule presents with a sarcoid.

Most equine tumors involve the skin, and common skin tumors include equine sarcoids, squamous cell carcinomas, and melanomas. Surgeons at the Equine Medical Center use a multi-modal approach to treating skin tumors in order to optimize the chances of successful treatment and dramatically reduce reoccurrence rates.

Treatment often consists of a combination of laser-assisted surgical excision and ablation along with intralesional and topical chemotherapeutic agents. The local delivery of chemotherapy drugs avoids the many side effects commonly associated with their systemic use.

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The advantage of laser surgery for treating tumors

  • Much more versatile than a scalpel, surgical lasers deliver light or heat to incise, coagulate, or vaporize tissue.
  • Laser surgical sites bleed and swell less than conventional surgical wounds. The carbon dioxide laser creates a clean, bloodless incision and can also vaporize tissue masses.
  • The carbon dioxide laser is controlled enough that corneal tumors can be vaporized from the surface of the eye.
  • Surgical procedures performed with lasers can often be performed on standing horses on an outpatient basis. The horses leave with no external wound.


Appointments for tumor evaluation and treatment

  • Appointments are available for EMC faculty clinicians to examine and diagnose equine tumors.
  • For an appointment or for more information, call 703-771-6800 or email
  • View the Client Care Packet (PDF) to learn more about what to expect when you bring your horse for an appointment.