A woman who had been treating her pony’s “ulcerated, oozing” sarcoids with a cream she had mixed herself has been found guilty of an animal welfare offence.
Tracey Atchison’s New Forest pony Sonny had to be put down as a result of his severe, malignant sarcoids, which had not been appropriately treated for years.
The 57-year-old, of East Howe Lane, Bournemouth, was found guilty of one count of causing unnecessary suffering, and sentenced at Poole Magistrates’ Court on 24 June.
RSPCA officers investigated after concerns were reported about Sonny.
Inspector Tina Ward said: “Sonny had large areas of skin covered with sarcoids of different types and sizes on his chest and between his front legs, between his back legs and around his sheath. Some had thick rough scabs with deep cracks that appeared to be oozing, others were bulbous with angry red areas, which were also oozing.”
Two independent vets concluded that Sonny had to be put down as a result of his condition, owing to the fact he had not had appropriate treatment in time. Atchison had been treating him with a cream she had mixed herself.
One of the vets said in a report: “He was clearly showing signs of pain around these sarcoids and would anticipate that someone touching them would be painful, and would step away and clench his muscles.
“The sarcoids on this horse were ulcerated, bleeding, oozing pus and serum, they ranged in size from approximately 14cm down to 0.5cm and there was significant invasion of the local tissues around the sarcoids. Many of them were pendulous, rubbed on the adjacent sarcoids or limb as the horse walked. Sonny smelt of necrotic tissue when up close.
Riders have been advised against a treatment being promoted on social media and in forums
Professor Derek Knottenbelt is concerned about a growing trend of people using toothpaste to treat sarcoids
“In my professional opinion, this horse was suffering from pain associated with sarcoids in multiple locations on its body and was likely to have been ongoing for a minimum period of two years. This owner failed to meet this horse’s needs by failing to seek veterinary
attention when this horse required it as a result of a chronic, malignant cancer.”
Atchinson was fined £120 and ordered to pay £200 costs. It is understood that she was not banned from keeping equines owing to the length of time since the offence was committed, from 2017 to 2019, during which she had proved she could look after another horse, and because she was of previous good character.
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