Warts in HorsesBy Kentucky Equine Research Staff · November 23, 2011
Warts (equine viral papillomatosis) are common among horses. Caused by a DNA papovavirus, the lesions resemble those of other species.
Youngsters, particularly those under three years of age, seem to be most affected, and there are no breed or sex predilections.
Warts generally appear on the head and seem to cluster on the muzzle, though they might appear near the eyes, on the bridge of the nose, and even along the lower jaw. Warts are also commonly observed on the genitalia and lower legs.
If a definitive diagnosis is warranted, skin biopsy may be performed.
Warts generally disappear with time, so removal of warts is rarely attempted. If a lesion interferes with function, excision is justified.
Some horsemen believe that surgical removal or intentional damage to a lesion may hasten spontaneous regression of all lesions. No scientific evidence supports this notion, and some controlled studies suggest that such interference might prolong their presence.