Ocular Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of tumor in the horse and the most frequent tumor of the horse’s eye. Factors thought to increase risk for SCC include UV exposure, pigmentation, and genetics. When originating at the limbus, SCC can spread into the cornea, and quickly lead to visual impairment and destruction of the eye. Horses homozygous (R/R) for the risk factor are 5.6 times (Haflinger) or 4.0 times (Belgians) more likely to develop ocular SCC than those with one copy (R/N) or no copies (N/N) of the risk factor. This risk factor does not explain all cases of ocular SCC but it appears to be a major contributor in Haflingers and Belgians.
Homozygous horses (R/R) are advised to have routine eye exams performed by a veterinary ophthalmologist for early detection and better prognosis, and to wear a UV protecting fly mask when out during the daylight hours.
Ardennes horse, Belgian Horse, Haflinger
autosomal recessive
Test duration
1-2 weeks after arrival of the sample in the lab
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