What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Warty Growths on Face or Muzzle


Viral warts are common in young horses but can appear on mature horses as well. They appear as multiple white growths, and are usually confined to the area around the muzzle but can occasionally appear elsewhere. They usually disappear after 6-8 weeks, as the immune system gears up against them.

Other growths are possible around the muzzle too, but are much less common. Sarcoid is probably the most common skin condition confused with viral warts. It will likely not resolve without treatment.

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    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If you want to try to rid the horse of the problem faster, through treatment.
    • To ensure a correct diagnosis, have your vet examine the horse.

your role


What To Do

Check the rest of the horse's body for other growths. Take a photo of the condition and send it to your vet for discussion. If the diagnosis is viral warts, this usually is a self-limiting problem. They usually fall off within a few months. If your vet thinks it is a different condition, then further diagnostics and treatment may be necessary.

your vet's role

Your vet can usually differentiate among the conditions with an exam, and recommend treatment. If they think the growths are warts, they may advise you to take a "wait and see" approach because, as mentioned above, they may resolve on their own. However, if it is more likely a different cause, they may suggest a more aggressive approach to diagnostics and/or treatment.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • How old is the horse?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • What treatments have you tried and how did they work?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • How aggressive do you want to be in treating this?

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP