^^And that is exactly why Dobe will likely be the last gray horse I ever own. I had 2 melanomas taken off him a couple of years ago and now there are 4 more that need to go (one of which is right in the middle of his back where the bars of my saddle sit). He's only 9 years old so I am hoping, but not counting, on having him until his elder years.
Can anyone show me what melanomas look like in the very, very small stages? I've had 3 grays (two adults, one is still a yearling) and I have yet to see a melanoma, although my Fox Trotter does have two tiny, tiny mole-looking lumps, about 1/2 the size of a pea. One is where the cinch goes and one is on her shoulder. Both are covered with hair (for the most part, the cinch one gets rubbed a bit). Anyway, I don't know if they are melanomas or just benign moles or blemishes.
I showed one to my vet and he didn't think anything of it and said that if she got melanomas they would likely be under her tail, vulva, face or jawline. She has no lumps or skin blemishes in any of those areas. So maybe I am worried for nothing, but hey, it's in my nature to worry! She is 17 years old.
My other adult gray was a 24 yr old Arabian that died of re-occuring colic. If he had any tumors they were internal, because I never saw any blemishes on him either. And I groom my horses pretty thoroughly, so I think I would have noticed even the smallest lump.
Now I did have a Paint gelding in his late 20's that developed cancer in his sheath/penis, but that is a whole 'nother topic I suppose.
So, do melanomas start out small and covered with hair? Smrobs, are Dobe's hair covered? When I Google the subject, I just get all these horrible pictures of tumors under the tail and such.