Caused by a virus, these un­sightly growths are a harm­less rite of pas­sage for most young­sters.

EQUUS - - Young Horses Health Check -

Small crusty growths caused by the pa­pil­loma virus, warts usu­ally ap­pear on a young horse’s muz­zle but can be found on the eye­lids as well. They are pri­mar­ily a cos­metic con­cern and will go away once the horse’s body mounts an im­mune re­sponse against them. “Typ­i­cally we sim­ply try to talk the owner into ig­nor­ing warts be­cause, in most horses, they run their course quickly,” says Tia Nel­son, DVM, a vet­eri­nar­ian from He­lena, Mon­tana. “Then they are gone and the horse usu­ally has im­mu­nity against warts for the rest of its life.”

Oc­ca­sion­ally, how­ever, warts be­come so large that they ob­struct a nos­tril or other­wise cause prob­lems. “Once in a great while, we see some warts that are re­ally aw­ful---so thick and large that the young horse has a hard time eat­ing,” says Nel­son.

In those cases, she says treat­ment fo­cuses on get­ting the horse’s im­mune sys­tem to rec­og­nize the virus as for­eign and at­tack it. “We se­date the horse and use a pair of pli­ers to crush one or more of the warts deeply enough to make them bleed,” she ex­plains. “This will of­ten give the im­mune sys­tem a sig­nal that an in­truder is present, al­low­ing the horse’s body to mount an im­mune re­sponse (to fight the warts) faster than when you sim­ply leave the warts alone. Usu­ally within a week to 10 days, the warts shrink up and are all gone. In the mean­time, we may give the young horse some bute or Banamine to help with the dis­com­fort while re­cov­er­ing.”

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