How to Treat and Prevent Proud Flesh

Learn what proud flesh is and how to treat and prevent it.

Wondering how to treat, prevent, and understand proud flesh? We’ve got you covered.

What Proud Flesh Is:

As your horse’s wound begins to heal, pinkish granulation tissue fills in the gaps between soft tissues. Granulation tissue normally stops forming as the skin edges grow together to close the wound. But when healing doesn’t go according to plan, the granulation tissue becomes exuberant-it keeps growing until it bulges above skin level, so newly formed skin can’t grow over the wound. That’s proud flesh.

[READ: Horse Wound Care Guide]

When Proud Flesh happens:

Proud flesh tends to form in wounds below your horse’s knees and hocks, where there’s little soft tissue between skin and bone, and where movement constantly tugs the wound’s edges. It’s most likely to occur in places with lots of movement, such as over joints, or when a complication, such as infection, slows healing.

How to prevent Proud Flesh:

Minimize movement and prevent infection by taking the following steps.

  • Have your veterinarian suture the wound (if it can be sutured), as soon as possible. Call him or her for suture advice.
  • Bandage with a pressure wrap to help hold the wound’s edges together.
  • Keep your horse as quiet as you can while the wound heals. When possible, stall rest may be best.
  • Follow your vet’s advice for keeping the wound clean and covered, and administer antibiotics per his or her recommendations.
Prevent and treat proud flesh by wrapping the wound. Nichole Chirico

How to treat it:

If proud flesh appears, this strategy will humble it. Here’s how to treat proud flesh.

  • Trim. Ask your vet to trim the tissue back to skin level, so your horse’s skin can begin to grow across the wound. (Note: Proud flesh bleeds heavily when trimmed, but it has no nerves-so your horse won’t feel pain.)
  • Wrap. Keep a pressure wrap on the wound to prevent the proud flesh from bulging above the skin again. This also helps to immobilize the wound, furthering the healing process.
  • Medicate. Ask your vet to recommend a topical cortisone preparation (often combined with an antibiotic). Cortisone slows the growth of granulation tissue and can even help shrink proud flesh.
  • Ask! Check with your vet before applying over-the-counter proud-flesh “remedies.” Some are designed to cauterize, or burn the tissues. While this may make proud flesh appear smaller, it discourages the wound from healing properly.
  • Don’t give up! If the proud flesh bulges again, it may need another trimming-and another, and another. Persist, and you’ll win.

Barb Crabbe is an Oregon-based equine practitioner.

Share
Related Articles
HR_24BON_Health_Electrolyte-Supplementation_01
Electrolyte Supplementation
Thoroughbred yearlings in pasture at sunset
Green Grass Galore
Tip of the Week: How To Transition Your Horse to Green Grass
Horse with colic lie down and sleep outside
Quick Tips for colic Prevention
Colic Prevention Tips
Insektenplage. Schönes Pferd frei zwischen gelben Blumen auf einer Wiese wird von Insekten attackiert
Spray Smart
Savvy Spraying: Select the Right Fly Spray for the Task at Hand
Newsletter
Receive news and promotions for Horse & Rider and other Equine Network offers.

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Country*

Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.