Proud flesh is a very normal wound healing response for a horse. When your horse gets a wound it will begin to heal on its own. As it does, a pinkish granulation tissue fills in the gaps between soft tissues. Typically, granulation tissue will stop forming when the skin edges grow together and cover the wound. However, when the healing process does not go according to plan, the granulation issue will keep growing until it bulges above skin level and newly formed skin can’t grow over the wound. This is proud flesh.
Proud flesh is typically found in wounds below a horse’s knees and hocks. It is more likely to occur in areas with lots of movement such as joints. These areas have little soft tissue between the skin and bone and a horse’s movement constantly tugs on the wound’s edges.
Preventing proud flesh can be done with your ABCS!
A – Advice. Get your vet’s advice on the wound before you do anything. They could make a decision to suture the wound if it is bad enough or could administer antibiotics per recommendation.
B – Bandage. Bandage your horse’s wound with a pressure wrap. This will help to hold the edges of the wound together.
C – Clean and Covered. Keep the wound clean and covered to prevent any infection or additional tearing.
S – Stall rest. Keep your horse and quiet as possible. This will prevent stress on the wound and will give it time to heal. Stall rest is the best option for this.
Proud flesh is very common so if it does occur have your vet:
Trim the tissue back to skin level
Put another pressure wrap on the wound to prevent bulging again
Apply a topical cortisone and antibiotic. The cortisone will slow the growth of the granulation tissue and can even shrink the proud flesh.
Proud flesh can be a pain for all horse owners, but remember your ABCS and you have a great chance of preventing it!
For more information on proud flesh, visit: http://www.thehorse.com/articles/10172/proud-flesh