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Dermoid and epidermoid cysts in Horses

Dermoid cysts often develop as solitary or multiple raised spherical nodules on the back of horses, with the overlying skin appearing normal. Cysts consist of a wall of fibrous tissue lined with stratified epithelium, and contain hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands and/or nerves. The condition may be hereditary or congenital. Epidermoid cysts, or atheromas, develop in the false nostril and may not be noticed in foals, but they usually become apparent in yearlings and older horses. They usually develop unilateral and enlarge with time. Atheromas contain epithelial lining without adnexal structures.

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Dermoid Cysts are due to displacement of embryonic cells to the subcutaneous tissue, causing cysts with walls composed of skin tissue which do not communicate with the overlying skin. They are congenital and vary in size. The cranial area of the thorax is a common site in cattle while the midline between the withers and croup is the most common location in horses. A dermoid resembling hairy polyp in humans (choristoma) was present from birth in the mouth of a foal.
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