What’s New with Roll? Cyst Removal



Today, Chad brought Roll up to the work station. On October 23, 2017, I had found a nodule on Roll’s lower right jaw line. Our veterinarian, Greg Farrand came out right away to check it to determine what kind of growth it was.

We have had sarcoids in the past, but this did not seem to be a sarcoid, but rather, a small cyst that was not attached to the bone. Since it was not attached, I made the decision to get it removed before it had an opportunity to become attached to the bone.

Lucky Three Sundowner had a similar growth on his jaw that WAS attached to the bone and it finally grew to such a size that it ultimately obstructed his ability to eat and he had to be put down at the age of 35 years.

We were preparing to vaccinate the herd, so we opted to wait on Roll’s surgery until after the vaccinations and hoped for a freeze that would kill all the insects. The exposed wound would have a better chance at healing in the colder weather without insect interference. We had to wait for quite a while since our winter weather proved to be unusually warm until today,  December 22, when we finally opted to do the surgery.


Greg gave Roll a sedative to help him to relax. I shaved the area heavily covered with winter hair with my #10 blades and then Greg stepped in and shaved it closer with his veterinary-gauged blades.

He then injected the site with a numbing agent and prepped it for the surgery.

The cyst was neatly contained and unattached below the surface of the skin. He carefully cut it away from the skin and was left with a perfectly round cyst that fell out easily.

When cut in half, the cyst revealed granular tissue in the center that is indicative of some foreign agent in the body that was surrounded by tissue that just never abscessed. We will send off the cyst to be tested to make sure there are no further issues to treat.

Greg carefully and neatly sutured the skin along his jaw line back together.

Greg gave me instructions about the care of the wound. Basically, we did not have to do anything, but let it heal. I will remove the sutures in 10-14 days.

Roll was still a bit drowsy when I took him back to his pen. He will not get food for at least two hours after the surgery to keep him from choking. He should heal nicely.

I took a sleepy Roll back to his pen. By tomorrow, he probably won’t even know what happened and he was such a trooper through it all! I am so glad my mules are trained the way they are…not a bit of trouble!


  1. Carla Hilgendorf12-31-2017

    Hi Meridith,
    I notice sarcoids mentioned in this article.
    My mule has a very large one and I wonder if you’ve found any cures or help.
    Thank you very much
    Carla Hilgendorf

    • Meredith01-01-2018

      Sarcoids are very difficult to treat and act differently with every animal. It is better to catch them sooner than later. I had some on my animals and they were treated differently with each one. In the early years, we would surgically remove them and then inject the site with a drug that I cannot remember, but it worked. Then I had two that got sarcoids, rubbed them and broke them open, and they just disappeared after a few weeks, but they were very small. I think they built up an immunity to them. I have heard about success lately with a drug called Xterra. Either way, it is advisable to call your veterinarian immediately so the sarcoid does not have the chance to get so large that you cannot do anything with it. One of my dear friends lost a john mule that had them in the scrotum and they got so large, there was nothing they could do for him. Best of luck!

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