Spindle Cell Sarcoma in Horses

Sarcoma is a type of cancer that is related to the connective tissues. It is different from carcinoma, which is the cancer of the skin. A spindle cell sarcoma is a very rare kind of cancer. From the word ‘sarcoma’ you can say that it is a cancer of connective tissue and from the word ‘spindle cell’ you can say that it is a cancer which contains spindle cells.

Spindle cells are termed that way because they have a spindle-like appearance. Healer cells are also called spindle cells because of their shape. Another kind of spindle shape cells is the smooth muscle cells.

Spindle cells are almost found throughout the body. Smooth muscle cells, which are spindle in shape, form the walls of the blood vessels and it is a fact that blood vessels are greatly distributed in the body. Some of your organs such as the GI tract are also composed of smooth muscle cells. Adding up, there are also muscles in your body which are made up of smooth muscle cells like the pupil constrictor and pupil dilator muscles.

Spindle Cell Sarcoma in Horses

Spindle cell sarcoma in horses is also the same as in humans. Among the reported cases for the equine, the cancer is common on the hind limbs and not in the uterus, which is common for the humans. But, you can also find this type of cancer almost everywhere in the body because of the diverse distribution of spindle cells.

A rare type of malignancy of spindle cell sarcoma in horses is the giant spindle cell sarcoma. It is not only found among the equine, but also in other animals such as cats. This type of malignancy arises from the nasal cavity.

The spindle cell sarcoma horses type is very rare that is why there are few case studies done on this type of disease. However, researchers found out that the lesion is invasive, but does not metastasize. It means that the cancer progresses in the adjacent structures, but does not travel to the other distant parts of the body and form secondary cancers. Moreover, some owners say that the lesion is benign, while some pathologists identify it as a low-grade cancer.

Cause of the Cancer

Due to the rarity of the cancer, researchers still don’t know what its major cause is. But, they believe that genetic damage, genetic inheritance, injury and inflammation are the ones that may lead to spindle cell sarcoma.

Signs and Symptoms

Just like other cancers, the spindle cell sarcoma horses type also shows swelling in the area where the cancer arises. Pain may also be an indication that there is something wrong in the part of the body. If you notice a mass of tissue in your horse, it is recommended that you bring it to a veterinarian.


The best treatment in this kind of cancer is wide surgical removal. Even surrounding healthy tissues should be included to ensure that no single cancer spindle cell is left. However, if the cancer has also invaded adjacent structures and complete surgical removal is not possible, the best treatment is through radiation therapy or chemotherapy. A better type of chemotherapy is the intralesional chemotherapy, which is a chemotherapy that is directly deposited into the location of the tumor.