Au­ral plaques

EQUUS - - Prevention -

► Def­i­ni­tion: be­nign, raised, crusty, white skin growths on the in­te­rior sur­face of the ear ► Causes: a pa­pil­lo­mavirus in­fec­tion, most likely spread by the bites of black flies; the bites may also cause ir­ri­ta­tion and in­flam­ma­tion that stim­u­lates

the growth of the le­sions. ► Signs: un­pig­mented thick­en­ing of the ker­ati­nous (struc­tural) layer of the skin; the le­sions are raised, with a hard, scaly ap­pear­ance. Rounded, knoblike pro­tu­ber­ances may also de­velop within the scaly area. Usu­ally the plaques are pain­less, but in some horses they cause itch­i­ness and sen­si­tiv­ity. In

th­ese cases, the pain may cause a horse to re­sist hav­ing his ears han­dled. ► Di­ag­no­sis: ob­ser­va­tion of signs. Au­ral plaques have a dis­tinc­tive ap­pear­ance, but it’s wise to have a vet­eri­nar­ian look at them to rule out other skin tu­mors, such as sar­coids, that can also ap­pear on the ears. This is es­pe­cially true if the growths de­velop rapidly, are

tall or cause the horse pain. ► Treat­ment: If au­ral plaques are caus­ing no pain or dis­com­fort, no treat­ment is nec­es­sary. In cases where the plaques cause se­vere itch­i­ness or dis­com­fort, a vet­eri­nar­ian may pre­scribe top­i­cal cream con­tain­ing im­iquimod, a drug that can help re­duce the size and sever­ity of the plaques by mod­i­fy­ing the im­mune re­sponse.

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