Q: I have found a 10-year-old grey mare who I would like to buy,
but she has a melanoma on the underside of her dock. The owner says
it hasn't altered in the two years she's owned her but I would appreciate
some advice about melanomas to supplement what my vet has already
are relatively common tumours made up of cells in the skin, which
produce the pigment called melanin. They are particularly common
in grey horses and often cause no problem. There is however always
the danger that such lumps will become cancerous.
The reason this happens is not always clear, but it is normally
related to a weakening of the horse's immune system. Tumour cells
of all kinds are abnormal cells and the body naturally tries to
destroy them, but it is often not strong enough to do so quickly.
horse as healthy as possible will help to maintain a strong immune
system. Feeding is the most important factor, but I am afraid that
feeding horses for a strong immune system as nature intended is
not easy. A natural diet comes from a large grazing area with access
to a large variety of different plants growing on different soil
In an artificial
environment, we supplement the horses grazing with concentrates
and supplements know to boost the immune system in order to make
up for any deficiencies that might exist in his diet.
For long term
supplementation, I would recommend as good a vitamin and mineral
supplement as you can afford plus a little seaweed for a few months
each year and the use of selected herbal formulae.
I would be
wary of Echinacea-based products because these are not suitable
for long term support of the immune system and are better used when
specific infections are known to be near at hand or have just started
to cause problems.
question has not been covered adequately in the Vet Advice Topic
Section, please feel free to start a thread in the Forum, and -
time permitting - Stephen will endeavour to answer your question.