Mystery back lumps on horses

  • The majority of lumps that spring up on a horse’s back are not serious. The challenge is deciding what they are and what you can about them.

    Case study

    Kathy Carter has owned Badger, a six-year-old Irish draught-thoroughbred, for about nine months.

    When she first tried him, Kathy noticed a small, marble-sized lump on his back.

    “The saddle didn’t touch it and I was assured by the owner that it hadn’t bothered him, or changed in size since it appeared when he was a yearling,” said Kathy.

    The vetting, which Badger passed, detailed the lump as a melanoma.

    “That did worry me, but I spoke with my vets before I signed the cheque and on their advice, decided to take the risk and buy him with a view to having the lump removed when I got him home.

    “The consensus was that the problem was more likely to be a cyst than a melanoma, which was a relief to hear.

    “Although some people advised me to leave it well alone, I was worried about rugs rubbing it or fly bites causing it to swell. I thought it was better to remove it.”

    Badger underwent a straightforward operation under local anaesthetic. The lump turned out to be a benign developmental dermoid cyst, which was easily removed. The wound healed well and within a few weeks Kathy was riding again.

    “I spent time on in-hand and lunge work, but three months on the area had healed completely. There is now no evidence of the surgery.”

    To read the full veterinary feature on mystery back lump see the current issue of H&H (24 May 2012)

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