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Equine hoof canker (Pododermatitis chronica verrucosa s. migrans) is a destructive hypertrophic pododermatitis of the frog, hoof wall and adjacent structures in equids. The disease is diagnosed by its typical clinical appearance: filamentous or cauliflower-like proliferation of the hoof matrix with foul smell and white cheesy exudate. It is a sporadic chronic disorder, and at later stages it compromises the use and welfare of horses. The disease often shortens the lifetime of affected animals, as therapy is often insufficient (Wilson and others 1989, Stashak 2002, Dietz 2006, Knottenbelt 2009). It is likely that infection and an underlying defect in horn production are involved (Knottenbelt 2009), but several attempts to identify causative agents have been unsuccessful (Turner 1989, Lacerda Neto and others 2001, Jongbloets and others 2005, Brandt and others 2010). Surgical debridement of canker lesions in combination with a variety of topical formulations are common treatment protocols (Wilson 1994, Stashak 2002, O'Grady and Madison 2004, Dietz 2006, Fürst and Lischer 2006), also combined with prednisolone (Oosterlinck and others 2011). If at all successful, horses which recover often show short- to medium-term recurrence of the problem.
In a recent study, sarcoid-inducing viral DNA and RNA of bovine papillomaviruses of types 1 and 2 (Brandt and others 2010) have been detected in 24/24 canker tissue samples as well as in intact skin and …