In my travels I have noticed that most folks around horses, especially in the backyards and riding establishments, do not know how to treat proud flesh in horses. I have also noticed that there is a lot of misinformation published on the internet, either by reputable websites or just in the information sharing among the horse lovers and amateurs in various forums.
Unfortunately most of this information is plain hogwash, starting by using meat tenderizer to Wonder Dust and other less effective or ineffective treatments. Some present such nonsense as preventing the growth of proud flesh by keeping a tight bandage, which is about the worse thing one can do. If and when you are bandaging a wound, make sure to use the bandage as loose as possible to insure sufficient blood circulation, and tight enough so it stays in place. Standing cotton bandages are preferred, as they also allow some air to the wound, unlike the use of Vetraps, which will surely complicate the healing process in all cases.
I am publishing here the common treatment of proud flesh done by the professional horsemen. This case has many educational aspects, where the progress is documented, and final results will be added when the procedure is finished. In this case the proud flesh was improperly treated for some six weeks with very poor results, using the alternating method of one day Furazone and the next day the Wonder Dust.
When I came and saw the wound it not only had a quite a bid of proud flesh growing, but the wound was also rotting and had a foul smell of decaying flesh. This person taking care of this wound was the victim of all this nonsense published on the internet, and so I took it on myself to take care of it and document it. Please note, this is an old wound, about 6 weeks old when I started to work on it. This wound already started to form a permanent scar, which can be seen on some of the picture on the left side of the wound. Unfortunately in this case there will be some scarring left, however if treated properly most wounds should leave no scars or blemishes.
Since it already formed a quite a bit amount of proud flesh I started immediately with using the caustic powder, which was applied to the wound for two days. After the second application of the caustic powder, the third day that is, the wound was scrubbed vigorously to remove not only some of the dead tissue but also to remove any remnant of the powder that may have been stuck to the wound. (See photo with the yellow arrow, which is pointing out the powder stuck to the flesh. Also see the video below which presents the scrubbing off the proud flesh before the first application of Furazone, and also the removing of the powder remnant).
After cleaning of the wound, a rich amount of Furazone was applied, and that too for two days. After the two days of using Furazone, the remnant of the dressing is washed off, not scrubbed off, as in the case of the powder, and the caustic powder was applied to the wound that was previously dried off.
If and when I treat a fresh wound I apply the Furazone as long as needed, which can be only two days, or sometimes longer, until the deep laceration or lesion of the wound is healed. We do not want to start to use the caustic powder when the wound is still deep. Once the deep cut is healed from the inside out, I start to use the caustic powder for two days, and then again two days Furazone, in alternations, 2 days Furazone and then 2 days powder. However, before every first application of the Furazone the wound has to be scrubbed vigorously as mentioned above.
Here is where most folks make the mistake not scrubbing the wound enough, which will in return retard the healing process, not to mention that the wound forming proud flesh will leave a scar if improperly treated. In this case you can already see the formation of permanent scar on the left side of the wound, since the proud flesh was improperly treated for six weeks. I am including a video of how the wound has to be scrubbed every time after the second application of the Caustic powder, which means before the first application of Furazone.
Just in case you did not know what proud flesh is, in layman’s term it is simply a protruding flesh that rises above the skin level and prevents the new skin growth, which grows from all sides surrounding the wound. As long the proud flesh is left unattended, or is handled improperly, the horse will end up with permanent exterior damage, which can of course devaluate the horse, and needless to say is unsightly. The horses tend to grow proud flesh on the lower extremities, and most of the wounds when treated properly should completely heal without leaving any scar.
Summation of the treatment of laceration wounds on lower limbs and proud flesh.
First the Furazone is applied to the wound in rich amount, using gauze between the bandage and the wound.
The Furazone is used as long as it takes to heal and seal the deep cut, hence the wounds needs to heal from the inside out.
Once the deep cut is healed, the proud flesh is more likely already forming on the surface of the wound, hence the caustic powder is applied to the wound, using gauze between the wound and the bandage.
The entire treatment from the start to finish is pretty much the alternating treatment with Furazone and the Caustic powder, two days Furazone and two days the powder, and so on and such, until the skin closes over the wound completely.
Please keep in mind the very important factor of scrubbing the proud flesh between the application of powder and the Furazone, as described above, and as presented in the below video clip.
The proud fleshed formed after six weeks of improper treatment and before I started to work on it.
Close-up of the above.
The above just one day after the caustic powder application.
Close-up of the above.
This is what came off after the second day of using the powder.
The wound after the second application of caustic powder, and before scrubbing.
After scrubbing and before the application of Furazone. The third day of treatment.
The arrows point are the developing permanent scaring due to the improper treatment done in the past six weeks.
The wound after second two-day treatment with powder, which was of course applied after the two days of Furazone.
The arrow points out the remnant of the powder, which must be removed and is often fairly stubborn to get rid off.
The same day, which was actually the sixth day of treatment, after the wound got scrubbed and all the remnant of the powder was removed.
Once the wound is scrubbed after the use of powder, it should look like this, bleeding, in which case the Furazone is applied for the next two days.
The horse was moved before the treatment was completely finished and so there are no picture available after the treatment was finished.
Message: I would just like to say thank you to the man who took the time to make the article and the video about the proud flesh removal. My horse had proud flesh that had been there for a year and we used the caustic powder and the furazone and did everything he said and it worked great!! thank you very much!!
Message: I felt like I needed to thank you and let you know the good you have done. I feel so lucky to have found your video on cleaning a wound and preventing proud flesh. My horse got cut, somehow this winter, below the pastern right at the bend. The cut was about 4-5 inches long,1 inch deep and gapping. Needleless to say, all I could do was to bring her in out of the foot of mud and clean it. I didn’t think it could ever heal right considering every time she picked up her foot it got bigger, I ran and got a tetanus and some antibiotics. I felt like your info is what really helped her and me know what do. Knowing the pressure of scrubbing and wound treatment. I used (2)sanitary napkins for the bandage (also cheaper) and it helped having the adhesive on the back to connect together and make a tight bell around before using duck tape and then the outside wrapping. It took around two months of continuing scrubbing, treatment, and not allowing a scab to form so it could heal from the inside out. She is fine today and her hair covers the scar. It wasn’t easy or fun, but did form a bond with this green broke horse that is amazing. I truly thank God for you and your help!
I would like to add to the above feedback, as the person learned on her own, that the bonding with people or animals, in this case with a horse, does not come through pleasures or fun, but rather during the struggles of life, as in her case.