When your horse cuts him­self, es­pe­cially on the lower leg, take steps to en­sure that heal­ing pro­ceeds smoothly.

EQUUS - - Contents - By Lau­rie Bonner with Melinda Freck­le­ton, DVM

Proud flesh: When your horse cuts him­self, es­pe­cially on the lower leg, take steps to en­sure that heal­ing pro­ceeds smoothly.

hen your horse shows up at the gate with yet an­other cut or scrape, it’s wise to tend to it right away to head off in­fec­tion, aid heal­ing and pre­vent com­pli­ca­tions.

One com­pli­ca­tion you’ll want to be es­pe­cially care­ful to avoid is proud flesh. Also known as ex­u­ber­ant gran­u­la­tion tis­sue, proud flesh is the ex­ces­sive growth of the con­nec­tive tis­sue and blood ves­sels that begin to fill in a heal­ing wound. In se­vere cases, the mounds of pink tis­sue can take on a cau­li­flower-like ap­pear­ance and pro­trude be­yond the sur­face of the skin. New skin is un­able to grow over the tis­sue, and heal­ing stalls. Proud flesh de­vel­ops most fre­quently in wounds on the lower legs, but un­der the right cir­cum­stances it can ap­pear any­where on the body.

Sev­eral fac­tors in­crease the risk for proud flesh, in­clud­ing the wound’s sever­ity, level of con­tam­i­na­tion and lo­ca­tion---the po­ten­tial for dis­rup­tion of frag­ile heal­ing tis­sue in wounds over joints and other mo­bile ar­eas makes them more vul­ner­a­ble. Also, some horses are sim­ply more prone to de­vel­op­ing proud flesh than oth­ers. Con­sult your vet­eri­nar­ian if your horse

has a wound that “gapes” when he moves, af­fects a joint, ten­don or bone, or con­tains em­bed­ded de­bris or other con­tam­i­na­tion. In some wounds, su­tures may be the best op­tion, and your vet­eri­nar­ian will want to ad­dress any other is­sues that might com­pro­mise heal­ing.

In most cases, you can prob­a­bly man­age your horse’s mi­nor in­juries your­self. But if you have any doubts do not hes­i­tate to call your vet­eri­nar­ian. It is far bet­ter to get heal­ing on the right path from the out­set than to try to com­pen­sate once com­pli­ca­tions have de­vel­oped. growth of proud flesh. Saline so­lu­tion, which has the same salt con­cen­tra­tions as blood, is the safest way to flush im­pu­ri­ties out of a wound with­out dis­rupt­ing in­jured tis­sues. If you don’t have any saline at hand, wa­ter from a hose can do the job. In fact, the cool wa­ter has the added ben­e­fit of help­ing to re­duce swelling and in­flam­ma­tion. In­spect the area closely to make sure it is com­pletely clean. re­duce the risk of in­fec­tion even fur­ther. If you choose to ap­ply a wound oint­ment, use a wa­ter-based gel dur­ing the ear­li­est stages of heal­ing--th­ese help pro­tect the tis­sues with­out in­hibit­ing heal­ing. At the out­set, avoid heavy, greasy oint­ments such as ichtham­mol---th­ese are more ef­fec­tive for pro­tect­ing tis­sues dur­ing the later stages of heal­ing. At any stage of heal­ing, your best bet is to stick to prod­ucts la­beled for use on horses. Meat ten­der­iz­ers, hem­or­rhoid creams and other h t t

1. Rinse the wound well. Dirt and de­bris---in­clud­ing hair, rope fibers, frag­ments of metal or wood, or dead tis­sue---can cre­ate chronic in­flam­ma­tion and in­fec­tion that in­hibits proper heal­ing and en­cour­ages Ap­ply ap­pro­pri­ate treat­ments. Flush­ing a...

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