Ear mite and Sarcoids

By Richard Sutcliffe

Veterinary Advice

09 March 2012 13:59

Ear mites

Many horse owners call the vet thinking their horse might have ear mites due to sensitivity around the ears or because they’re head shy. However, as vet Richard Sutcliffe explains, ear mites in horses are actually very rare.

“In 22 years I’ve personally never identified a case of ear mites. Of course that’s not to say that it doesn’t happen, it is just quite rare.”

Signs that your horse might have ear mites can include:

Aural discharge
Rubbing or itching the ears

If you think your horse might have ear mites contact your vet. Following diagnosis treatment can include application of a topical insecticide.



Sarcoids are the most common form of tumour on the equine ear and the requirement to treat them is equal to that of sarcoids anywhere else on the body. Unfortunately they are much more difficult to treat when on the ear.

“Treatment can include surgery, laser removal or the use of Liverpool Cream, however it can be risky. If ear cartilage becomes damaged by treatment it’s power of recovery is poor,” says vet Richard Sutcliffe. “The ear cartilage can then become deformed and like all cartilage it does not heal as well as soft tissue.”

Sarcoids can range in appearance from hairless patches to smooth or warty lumps and ulcerated masses. If you think your horse may have a sarcoid contact your vet as soon as possible.

Following diagnosis, veterinary advice might be to start treatment or to wait and see if the sarcoid develops – some can remain unchanged for years or even life. For more information about sarcoids visit www.liv.ac.uk/sarcoids