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Treating Proud Flesh – Excessive Granulation Tissue – in Horses

Proud flesh in horses is caused by the excessive growth of granulation tissue as horse wounds heal.  Normally, granulation tissue forms around the edges of the wound and eventually closes the wound neatly and cleanly and the hair begins to grow back. However, in leg wounds–especially in areas with a lot of movement such as the hock–this granulation tissue can grow at an excessive rate to become the lumpy, bumpy growth known as proud flesh. Not only is proud flesh ugly, often raised as much as half an inch above the surface of the leg, but it disrupts the normal healing process of the wound.

I don’t know what my horse got into when he tore his leg up, although I suspect he was arguing with a horse in the next pasture and got his leg caught in the wire fencing.  Everything was going fine and it was healing well, but then I didn’t get to the barn for a few days. The next time I saw it, I noticed that underneath the dirt and stall bedding that were stuck to the wound, there was a noticeable protrusion of proud flesh growing over the wound.

Proud flesh on uncleaned leg wound.

Having removed the dirt and bedding that was stuck in the wound, the full extent of the proud flesh, or excessive granulation tissue became apparent. At first, I kept it wrapped, with the aim of keeping it clean and letting it heal, but in the meantime,  I started looking for something I could use to treat the wound that might reduce the growth of proud flesh and return my horse’s leg to normal.

Day One: Proud flesh after the wound is cleaned

Day One: Proud flesh after the wound is cleaned

I discussed the problem with my vet, my barn owner and other boarders and several people suggested I try Schreiner’s Herbal Solution. Schreiner’s is a topical herbal solution containing six medicinal herbs: aloe vera, comfrey and goldenseal, myrrh, cayenne and elder. It’s primarily used for treating cuts and wounds, fungi and other skin problems, but it was also said to work well on minimizing proud flesh.  Since I hadn’t come up with any other ideas, I decided to put it to the test.  It’s simple to use, coming in a pump spray bottle which makes it easy to spray in any direction.  It was recommended to me that I not wrap it and just let it heal in the open air after cleaning and spraying it with the Schreiner’s.

I should point out that I wasn’t able to get over to treat the wound every day.  I could only get over on weekends because of my work schedule and the distance of the barn from both my work and my home.  The barn owner was spraying the Schreiner’s on for me, every other day (when Annapolis would let her get close) but that was all.

Even so, a week later I could see some progress once I had cleaned the wound.  Although there’s still plenty of proud flesh, you can see a thin strip of smooth granulation tissue around the edge of the wound.

Day Six: Smooth granulation tissue can be seen around edge of wound.

Day Six: Smooth granulation tissue can be seen around edge of wound.

Perhaps it was my imagination, but by the next weekend, day 14 of treatment, the wound seemed a little smaller to me and the proud flesh less pronounced.

Day 14 - Proud flesh appears lessened.

Day 14 - Is it just wishful thinking, or is it getting better?

From this point on, the proud flesh seemed like it melted away and the wound started healing even more rapidly. Two weeks later, it seemed to me to be less than half the size that it was when I started treating it.

Day 27: Proud flesh is reduced and wound is now half the size of the original wound.

Day 27: Lots of improvement

As you can see in the photo below, the wound healed remarkably. The edges of the wound closed over and knitted together and all trace of the proud flesh disappeared. Within a few weeks of this photo being taken, the hair had grown back and no scar is visible at all now.

Day 48: Final photo of proud flesh healing

Day 48: A miracle of healing!

I’ve read of other products that work well on proud flesh, such as Wonder Dust, and I’m sure there are others that work, but I was really happy with the way my horse’s wound healed up with the Schreiner’s.  It’s easily available at many local tack shops and feed stores, as well as at the Schreiner’s website. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for healing proud flesh in horses.

Categories: Illness and Injuries.

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2 Responses

  1. Meat tenderizer is a very effective (and cheap) solution to proud flesh. I was skeptical about using it at first, but it cleared up the proud flesh within a few days.

  2. Now you mention it Jennie, I’ve heard of that, but like you I was skeptical. Glad to hear it worked for you.

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