Grey Horse Melanomas

eMail from Jenn D

On September 6, 2009, Jenn D wrote:

Hi, Sue,

I just wanted to let you know Eve went to CSU on Thursday. It was an all day event, but she was able to go/come home all in the same day. They did a local and an epideral for the surgery. Unfortunately, it was more extensive than they had hoped when they went in there. It's internal as well. They debulked a large tumor on the left side of her anus area. They could not get it all. That is what was inside. So it is being treated as an open wound. The right side, she was not as worried. She was able to remove some smaller ones from the outside and actually stitched it up using disolvable stitches. What they were not able to do is remove some of the smaller ones on the base of her tail. She said they would have had to amputate the bottom third of her tail (not length-wise, but thickness-wise). Since the larger tumor was a big deal, they did not want to do all of it in the same day. Plus, those smaller ones had not ruptured. The area on the left with now what we know is a larger tumor inside is what was continuing to ooze the black stuff and was a big threat for infection. will take weeks with the open wound to heal since it is a tumor and not regular tissue. We go in daily for the first 8 days (once a day) and pull out gauze (I can almost fit my hand in there), flush it, put ointment in there and put more gauze in there. I should send you a pic. Although, it's pretty gross. Literally, she has a large hole in her to the left of her rectum. Before that proces starts, I clean her up with the drainage. It was much worse the first couple days with the black stuff and blood. It looks much better and the drainage has subsided a lot more. The stitched side looks pretty good. I put a creme on that side and on the base of her tail. It's used in burn victims, believe it or not. She will always have an ulcer underneath the tail due to some rubbing. It's smaller though, but I am sure not comfortable. We then put on the fly ointment around it all. She is on bute for the first week as well. They were out of cimedetine (sp?), but it has been ordered and is supposed to arrive Tues or Wed. I am hoping she is one of 40%, like your pretty girl, who responds to it. They found smaller tumors on her head and on the other side of her neck (from the two that have always been on her since I've had her). All just popped up in the last two weeks.

Meanwhile, she eats and runs around like normal. She takes her 15 pills crushed like a champion twice a day in her oats and water. We've figured out a way to hollow out an apple and put bute in it as she is terrible about getting it. Truly, if you never lifted up her tail, you would never know anything was going on with her. She has been a dream to work on each day and is so good.

Once the wound heals, I am supposed to treat her like normal - if it heals and doesn't come back and start rupturing again. What will eventually kill her, they said, would be the tumor growing again (since they couldn 't get it all) and blocking the rectum. Then she's done. It's possible, this could buy her a couple years if the regrowth is slow. We just don't know. That's why we are hopeful she is one of 40% and the cimedetine she will start this week will reduce the size of these current tumors and stop regrowth on a temporary basis of the larger one.

Think positive. Just wanted to give you an update. They were absolutely wonderful, BTW, at CSU. I'd highly recommend them to anybody else. Thanks again for your support and interest.


On August 19, 2009, Jenn D wrote:


I have been searching the web for days trying to find something with some sort of answers or more detailed information. I stumbled across your website and kept reading and re-reading. Upon the many emails that I presume you've gotten, have you ever run across anybody in the Denver area who has been treating a horse with melanomas?

My gray mare was just dianosed with melanomas a week and a half ago. My vet said there was nothing I could do, which I refuse to accept. I at least want to make her as comfortable as possible and maybe try to shrink down some of what is happening under her tail, which seemed to have just happened overnight. I have been reading about different drugs, etc. I am going to contact another vet this week in the area and ask about those drugs and how I can get a prescription, etc.

Thank you for posting what you did on the web. I hope Katie is still doing well.

PS - Is there anything new since you last posted that would be helpful for me to know or try that has come on the market recently with any kind of success? THANK YOU!

Jenn Strickland (and her grey mare, Eve)

My Response:

Hi Jenn.

I am so sorry that you are going through this frightening experience. Unfortunately, I don't recall anyone specifically in the Denver area having written to me.

On a positive note, I will tell you that the diagnosis of melanoma is not necessarily a death sentence. I have had excellent results using Cimetidine. I use it along with a high dose of antioxidants (SmartPak has a product called SmartRepair that is very good) until I get a 30-50% shrinkage rate, which is usually 3-4 months, then I stop the Cimetidine and continue with the antioxidants. I have been able to stabilize her melanomas this way.

I also had very good results with Nublada's Cure. I have tried all products simultaneously before, just to be sure I covered all the bases. I don't, however, think it is wise to continue Cimetidine any longer than possible due to its potential side effect of damaging the liver.

The melanomas that come up 'overnight' will generally start to ooze and possibly burst at some point. Don't let this scare you. I actually think it is a GOOD thing.

I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your horse's immune system strong. Stress is a factor in the growth of melanomas, so any type of illness or anxiety can negatively impact the disease. I feed Katie a double dose of probiotics each day and, along with the antioxidants, a good healthy diet. She has a stress-free life. I am extremely bonded with her, and can tell when she's having a bad day, and I don't demand anything of her. I also make sure she keeps her weight up (not fat, but not too thin) because if she does have a set back and starts to drop weight, I don't want her starting with little to lose.

There is also a vaccine being tested that shows promise.

I have also heard of injecting Frankincense into the tumor.

Colorado State University is a great place for you to start. Here is a link to their faculty listing. Choose a couple of the doctors with a specialty or interest in internal medicine and see if you can call or email them for advice.

By the way, Katie turned 15 yesterday and, although she has a large melanoma on her teats, a small egg-size subdural lump on her anus, and a dime-sized melanoma under her tail, they are stabilized and she is doing very well.

Best of luck to you. Please let me know how things progress. I will be happy to post your journey on my web site. The more support and information we can get out there, the better.

Sue Crane