I got Beág in 2003 when he was 10/11 years old. He is a national hunt thoroughbred so a little hardier then the flat racers but still thin coated, flat footed and all the usual thoroughbred traits. He was surplus to requirements for his previous owner and had been living, doing nothing, for 2 & 1/2 years on the side of a mountain with hedging for shelter and no rugs over the winters.

He had a wooly coat due to the worm burden present, it took 7 days after the worm dose before I stopped seeing worms in my morning poop picking. His back was also raw from the withers to the tail with rain scald. With a little care all things improved and the skin was clearing except for one patch on his shoulder. A flat hairless circular area, the vet presumed it was a scar from having a long case of ringworm.

It turns out that this was a sarcoid, his first and it remained unchanged for a few years. Not a great picture below but you can just see the area ringed.


Beag’s first sarcoid

I started noticing sarcoids developing in his groin area a few years later and in 2009 I took some photos of two that were ripening, I started using some thuja* to help eliminate these.


A sarcoid developing on Beág’s belly

From 2009 the top picture shows a sarcoid developing on Beág’s belly, this one didn’t erupt until 2013.


Sarcoids around the sheath area

And in the above picture, you can see more sarcoids, the one on the sheath has popped out and the other one is static.

Through the years various other sarcoids came up – some burst out, some stayed static. The largest one we shifted was about tangerine size from the inside of the left thigh. All of these were like balls under the skin, the skin would burst dramatically and the tumour tissue would be expelled. Then the skin would heal back up.

Treatment with Turmeric Begins

In the summer of 2014 a different type of sarcoid started appearing in his right groin. This tended to be prone to bleeding in contrast to the previous ones. We also found that this one changed quite quickly.


The sarcoids were changing quickly

There was also one in his near side armpit which tended to rub off the girth, making it bleed.


Nearside armpit dorsal view

An instructor on a course I was attending mentioned using turmeric for horses and I started researching the spice, stumbling across the Turmeric User Group (TUG) on Facebook.

At the end of July 2013 we started feeding turmeric to Beág. Twice a day we would feed him half a teaspoon of turmeric and a grind of black pepper, and he was already on Coolstance copra. We also used turmeric topically mixing equal parts of turmeric powder and sudocream.

Over the weeks we built up to 2 tablespoons twice a day, upping the pepper accordingly and ensuring the copra was plentiful.

There were changes in the sarcoids, mainly ugly ones – they became more bloody and raw making topical treatment difficult, trying to dust it with raw turmeric powder or black wound powder was the best we could do. But there was some evictions too. The yellow arrows on the photos show the bits that left. You can see the right groin area in the picture below.


The changes in the sarcoids were obvious

During the winter months the sarcoids continued to grow and in October I linked up with a homeopathic vet to get him onboard with treatment too. He is five hours drive away so he worked on my horse via email and phone calls.


The changes in the sarcoids on the nearside armpit

Once Beag was in full livery for the winter I was able to up the amount of turmeric dosage to 3 tablespoons twice a day, October to February. Then we went up to 4 tablespoons twice a day. Each time the amount went up the sarcoids got more bloody, larger and oozy.

Our homeopathic remedies were changed in January 2015 and by April we had some changes.

Below you can see the picture journey as the armpit area became clear of the two raw sarcoids. In the last picture you can see the sarcoid splitting off.


Start bottom left & go clockwise. In the last picture you can see the sarcoid splitting off

As you can see from the pictures below, the groin area was just getting bigger and uglier (although one had shed two lumps), and some days it wasn’t pretty.

scarcoids-in-horsesscarcoids-in-horsesscarcoids-in-horsesscarcoids-in-horsesscarcoids-in-horsesscarcoids-in-horsesAs we went out to grass for the summer all seemed to be at a stale mate. He was too uncomfortable to be ridden or even trot in the field by himself. The ones on the sheath had dropped a little away from the body so I was trying to organise a vet to do a surgical intervention.

I also had to drop the turmeric dosage to 2 tablespoons twice a day as his hard feed had been cut down and he didn’t like the 4 tablespoons in the smaller feed.

Flies were a worry and every day I had to check for fly strike and hose down as necessary. And I was having no luck in getting a vet out to even assess what may need doing.

Eviction Begins

Four weeks after the reduction of the turmeric the sarcoid to the front of the sheath looked a lot dryer and was really scabbing up. Then it dropped away from the stomach pointing now towards the ground. This was good and I was closely watching it for separation.

But it was the one to the rear of the sheath which made the move first, dramatically splitting at its base.


Front of sheath journey

The eviction took a week. He must have good elastic skin because the hind one was hanging on by an inch strip of skin for a couple of days. It was when he got annoyed with me one evening dusting him with turmeric and took off down the field with a buck that the sarcoid flew off into the sunset.

Once the resistance was gone the front one waved its way off by the next morning. The front one weighed 1lb 1oz. The rear one weighed 1lb 15oz.


Rear of sheath journey

Surgical Intervention

There was still a medium sized dangler left on the inside of the right thigh. This one had a lovely long neck and I was surprised that it hadn’t fallen off long ago.


The remaining sarcoid

Finally the vet could attend and sedated Beág to tie it off. He didn’t just tie it off in the end, he actually removed it and put bands around some of the roots that were left on the front sheath eviction site.


The vet removed the remaining sarcoid & put bands around it

A Battle Well Fought

It’s not the end of our war. As can be seen we have several more small nodular sarcoids and some scaley skin ones, verracous types. The one on the shoulder is still there, bald and flat. But we have kicked those nasty ones and hopefully the others will follow suit.


Beág & Karina taking a well earned break

It has been 11 months of a battle. If the reduction of the turmeric was a coincidence in their demise I do not know but if you have ones that have been growing well on the turmeric, getting bloodier each time you up the dosage why not try cutting down their supply? It’s like they were little junkies and they couldn’t cope when I cut down the dose.

On Sep 2015 Karina posted this update on the TUG Facebook page….

“Remember my boy and his sarcoid evictions. Well he is doing great. One sarcoid left a bit of root behind but so far it is staying quiet. He had his chiropractor out this evening for a check up as I am bringing him back into work now. He had a little stiffness in the pelvis especially on the left side and some left neck work BUT his chiropractor said that overall he is in better shape and better mobility than some of the yearlings he has worked on. Not bad for a 24yo – the wonders of turmeric.”

Story & Images by Karina Kerrigan
(Karina runs a dog grooming business in Ireland & in her spare time runs a Canine First Responder Courses teaching people first aid for their animals – Click HERE for more info)


thuju* – Thuja is a tree and the leaves and leaf oil are used as a medicine. Thuja oil is used for skin diseases, warts, and cancer, and as an insect repellent. For more info click HERE.

What Next? Want to start feeding your horse turmeric then CLICK HERE.

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Written by Doug English BVSc
From a pioneering farming family in Malanda, Atherton Tableland, North Queensland, Australia. After high school in Cairns I attended Gatton Agricultural College to study agriculture and after graduation went on to the University of Queensland Veterinary Science faculty where I graduated in 1974 and went into rural practice at Moree NSW. Then I did a few years with the South Australian Department of Agriculture as a livestock advisor mainly involved in the eradication of Brucellosis and tuberculosis in the cattle herds. This was followed by about 20 years in mixed farm/equine/pets at Wyong, NSW Central Coast, then managed a large thoroughbred stud at Scone (Kia-Ora) before returning back to Cairns, North Queensland to have my own mixed practice on the Northern Beaches for around 15 years. Now living on the Gold Coast in a farm/equine practice and researching turmeric growing and manufacturing health products from this wonderful plant.