Based on the anecdotally reported eradication of a sarcoid using aciclovir cream, the curative potential of this ointment was investigated in 22 sarcoid-affected horses referred to the Equine Clinic Tillysburg, Austria, between 2006 and 2009. Sarcoid disease was diagnosed by clinical examination and bovine papillomavirus types 1 and 2 from intact skin and tumour tissue. As nine horses had more than one lesion, a total of 47 sarcoids were treated by daily topical application of aciclovir 5 per cent cream for a period of two to six months; in four horses, surgical tumour ablation was performed before treatment. Disease parameters, including the tumour type, number, location and size, were recorded before and after aciclovir therapy. All 47 (100 per cent) of the sarcoids responded to treatment, with complete tumour regression observed for 32 (68 per cent) lesions and no recurrences reported thus far. Incomplete resolution was observed for 15 (32 per cent) lesions, probably due to their thickness. Aciclovir is proposed to be routinely used for the treatment of mild-type sarcoids and as an adjuvant therapeutic agent in combination with surgery.
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