A horse rescued from Spindles Farm is to undergo radiation treatment for sarcoids at the University of Liverpool.
Duke, who is thought to be two to three years old, is to have the life-saving treatment to remove the growths on his eyelids free of charge.
Duke will receive iridium wire treatment at the University’s Equine Hospital — the only centre in the UK to deliver the complex procedure. Liverpool will also fund the treatment.
“Removing tumours surgically from the eyelids would be almost impossible because the scar tissue would leave the horse unable to blink,” explains Professor Derek Knottenbelt.
“Instead we kill the diseased cells from within using iridium radiation treatment, where gamma radiation is delivered through wires inserted into the tumour.”
Duke was one of more than 100 horses rescued from James Gray’s Spindles Farm in Amersham in January 2008.
He has been recovering at the Horse Trust since, but recently developed the sarcoids, which needed urgent treatment.
“Although sarcoids don’t spread to internal organs like many other cancerous tumours, they can be severely debilitating, so it is important that they are treated quickly to ensure long-lasting recovery,” added Professor Knottenbelt.
“The treatment will be delivered over a period of 10 days, during which we aim to eradicate the diseased cells to allow new healthy cells to grow in their place. The condition is very unpredictable, but we hope that Duke will make a good recovery.”