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Diagnosis and Management of Horn Cancer in Buffaloes.


Horn cancer is a sporadic, malignant disease affecting horn core epithelium and predominantly seen in aged zebu bullocks and rarely in buffaloes (Somavanshi, 1991). The most consistent clinical signs in bovines are frequent head shaking, scratching of horn against hard objects, gradual bending of affected horn and increase nasal discharge on affected side in advance cases (Behera et al., 2016). Amputation of horn could be helpful for prolongation of animal life in such conditions. Histopathological examination assists in deciding the prognosis of the condition. Present reports communicates management of horn cancer in buffaloes.

Materials and Methods

Five female Mehsani buffaloes of different age group (4-17 years) were presented with clinical symptoms indicative of horn cancer (nasal discharge, shaking of head, scratching of horn, mobility of horn, bending of horn). Anamnesis (age, duration of clinical signs), physical examination (nasal discharge, shaking of head, scratching of horn, bending of horn) and clinical examination (mobility of horn, percussion) were documented. On the basis of history, physical and clinical examination, the cases were diagnosed as horn cancer and amputation of affected horn was undertaken.

In all buffaloes, feed was withheld for 24 hours and water for 12 hours. After preparation, for aseptic surgery they were sedated with Inj. Xylazine hydrochloride @ 0.1 mg/kg b.wt. intramuscularly, restrained in lateral recumbency, keeping affected horn upward followed by cornual nerve block and local infiltration around the base of horn with 2% Lignocaine hydrochloride. Two cutaneous incisions were made from the base of horn exactly at the frontal crest and nuchal crest. Then a crescent incision was made to connect the two previous incisions on dorsal aspect of horn exactly at the junction of skin and base of horn. The skin over the dorsal and ventral aspect of horn was raised as a full thickness flap to expose the bony horn. Hemostasis was achieved by applying pressure at temporal fossa and digital pressure. Ligature was applied to bleeding vessels, if required. The exposed bony horn along with protruded frontal bone was chiseled out. The neoplastic growth inside the sinus was removed as much as possible. The dorsal and ventral flaps were approximated with series of horizontal mattress sutures using No.2 braided silk. Undermining of skin edges on both dorsal and ventral aspects were performed to raise the flaps further if flaps was not sufficient for suturing. The suture line was protected with Tincture benzoin seal and bandaged. The tissue collected during operation was sent for histopathological examination. Post-operatively, all buffaloes were administered with Inj. Dicrysticin (a) (Strepto-penicillin) 5gm, Inj. Melonex (b) (Meloxicam @ 0.2 mg/kg b. wt.) and Inj. Anistamin (b) (Chlorpheniramine maleate) 10 ml intramuscularly for next five consecutive days besides daily dressing with Povidone iodine. Skin sutures were removed on twelfth post-operative day and all five buffaloes recovered without any complications. There was no reoccurrence of cancer observed up to two years. Tissue from inside horn core was collected in 10 percent Formalin and processed histopathologically (Fig. 2). The slides were stained with H & E stains and observed under light microscope.

Result and Discussion

Horn cancer is a known malady of cattle with few reports in buffalo, presumably engendered by long hours in sun, irritation of ropes, painting of horn and even hereditary predisposition to light skin (Tyagi, 1993). In present study, age of buffaloes ranged from 4-17 years. The duration of horn affection ranged from 15 days to 12 months. Out of five cases, three had right horn affection. Nasal discharge was noticed in two animals, while shaking and scratching of affected horn was noticed in three cases. Bending of horn was seen in three buffaloes. On percussion at the base of affected horn, doughy sound was observed in all animals, while mobility of affected horn was noticed in two cases might be due to long duration of course. Similar clinical signs were observed by Prasad et al. (2016). Based on above clinical observations, all five Mehsani buffaloes were tentatively diagnosed with horn cancer (Fig. 1), Similarly, Salgar (2008) diagnosed four Mehsani buffaloes with horn cancer solely on basis of clinical examination and history. Various authors worked to treat horn cancer in buffalo by flap method of horn amputation using wire saw (Kumar and Thilagar, 2000), amputation of horn by rising ventral flap after resection of horn (Sreenu and Kumar, 2006), modified flap method for horn amputation (Mahida et al., 2010), while in present study it was removed by standard flap method as described by Mistry et al. (2009).

Histopathological Findings

The histopathological examination of growth revealed fibrous dysplasia in three buffaloes and melanocytoma in two cases. In histological features, the tumor mass was well-demarcated, cellular mass composed of immature woven bone and were separated by fibrovascular tissue (Fig. 3). The spicules were irregular in size and shape, interconnected and showed little or no orientation to lesion surface. The proliferative element was composed of spindle shaped cells with elongated nuclei that resembled fibroblasts. Most of the spicules were not rimmed by osteoblasts. Histologically, Melanocytoma consisted of mixture of spindloid and epithelioid melanocytes with scattered melanophages. Neoplastic cells were small spindle and epithelioid shaped cells with intra cytoplasmic brown to black coloured melanin granules. There were little nuclear or cellular pleomorphism (Fig. 4). Pigment localization was seen in the dermis as well as epidermis layer of skin. Contrary to popular belief that in cattle most horn cancer are histopathologically confirmed as squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), in our study, none of the buffaloes with horn cancer were confirmed as SCC. However, Rama Rao (2011) has reported squamous cell carcinoma in one buffalo. In present study, no post-operative complications were observed. All buffaloes made an uneventful recovery and no recurrence was observed up to two years.


Authors are thankful to the Dean and Principal, College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU), Sardarkrushinagar for facilities provided.


Behera, S.S., Nayak, S. and Behera, M. (2016). Surgical management of squamous cell carcinoma of horn in a cow. Intas Polivet. 17: 241-42.

Kumar, R. and Thilagar, S. (2000). An unusual case of bilateral horn cancer in a buffalo. Indian Vet. J. 77: 48-49.

Mahida, H.K., Tank, P., Dhami, M.A., Joshi, D.O., Karle, A.S. and Vedapathak, H.S. (2009). Epidemiological status of surgical affections of the buffalo horn at hospital population and ambulatory villages. Indian J. Vet. Surg. 30: 192-93.

Mistry, J.N. (2009). Surgical affections of horn in Mehsani buffaloes and their management. Indian J. Vet. Surg. 30: 112-13.

Prasad, V.D., Kumar, P.R., Harikrishna, N.V.V., Sreenu, M., Vidyasagar, P., Mahesh, R. and Bhagyaraju, D. (2016). A comprehensive study on surgical affections of horns in buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis). J. Livestock Sci. 7: 280-87.

Rama Rao, K. (2011). Studies on Clinical Management of Horn Affections in Buffaloes. Post Graduate Thesis, SVVU, Tirupati.

Salgar, B.S. (2008). Surgical affections of horn in Mehsani buffaloes and their management. Post Graduate Thesis abstract. Indian J. Vet. Surg. 30: 128.

Somavanshi, R. (1991). Horn cancer in Indian cattle. Veterinary Bulletin. 61: 901-11.

Sreenu, M. and Kumar, N. R. (2006). Affections of horn in buffaloes. Indian Vet. J. 83: 1206-07.

Tyagi, R.P.S. and Singh, J. (1993). Ruminant Surgery. CBS Publisher and Distributors Pvt. Ltd. New Delhi. p. 415-16.

J.B. Patel (1), A.M. Patel (2), P.T. Sutaria (2), P.B. Patel (3), J.G. Patel (2) and Abhishek M. Patel (4)

Department of Veterinary Surgery and Radiology Dr. V. M. Jhala Clinical Complex College of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry Sardarkrushinagar Dantiwada Agricultural University (SDAU) Deesa - 385535 (Gujarat)

(1.) Assistant Professor and Corresponding author.


(2.) Assistant Professor

(3.) Professor and Head

(4.) Post Graduate Scholar

(a) - Brand of Zydus Animal Health Ltd., Ahmedabad

(b) - Brand of Intas Animal Health, Ahmedabad

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Title Annotation:Clinical Article
Author:Patel, J.B.; Patel, A.M.; Sutaria, P.T.; Patel, P.B.; Patel, J.G.; Patel, Abhishek M.
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Disease/Disorder overview
Date:Jul 1, 2018
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