In the course of work and play, horses are prone to wounds from all sorts of causes. Wire and wooden fencing, other animals, saddles, rocks, and other environmental components can cause puncture wounds, lacerations, open sores, and deep cuts. Often, these are on the legs where the bones increase the possibility of damage.
Every horse owner should be ready with proper wound care materials to provide immediate and long-term care for wounds to heal quickly and properly, reducing the chance of infection and secondary injury thereby. You'll need cleaning agents, gauze to stop bleeding, bandages, some medical tape, and iodine or betadine for a start.
Natural Cures: Saline solution should be handy in order to clean out wounds initially. Later on, apple cider vinegar can be a natural antibiotic, helping to keep open wounds clean and free from infection.
Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.
[YEA] 10/25/2009: Katiepune from Pune, Maharashtra, India: "Charcoal for local application
My horse hurt himself on his coronet, i.e the portion between his hoof and leg. After the usual applications of betedine etc., we applied powdered charcoal and his lameness disappeared within hours. I read this in John Dinsley's book, which I recommend to everyone as it contains a wealth of info on the various remedies of charcoal."
Heal Horse Wounds
[YEA] 09/11/2006: Jennifer from Springtown, TX: "I need help with a wound on my horses front leg, just above the knee. Wound was sutured but previous owner removed pressure wrap and sutures busted out and the owner just left it to rot. I have gotten rid of all the proud flesh, and have gone from the size of a cantalope to a small hole about the size of dime, but it is a hole all the way thru the skin. Vet tried to cast so that it would heal and that was a complete disaster! I am treating it with an Equi Stim machine (micro current) with great results, just need that last little bit that is so hard to get!! Thanks in advance for your help! Oh, I am spraying the wound with calendula oil mixed with distilled water."Replies
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand replies: "Jennifer: Try some aspirin to dissolve scar tissue. Some comfrey to help the last small healing. If infection, just use Apple Cider vinegar to kill it off."
08/29/2007: Stacia from Okeechobee, Fl replies: "Jennifer from Springtown, TX might want to try honey on the horses open wound. Helps keep infections at bay."
11/27/2010: Hawkster from Santa Fe, Nm replies: "PLEASE HELP...
My horse cut his heel bulb in 3 places. I read on this site to use activated charcoal poultice, and this did draw out the infection (thank you). 2 of the deep cuts heeled, except now the cut that is on his heel bulb has soft, spongy proud flesh growing on top of it (underneath, deep cut is healed). On the surface, it looks like a pink, fleshy, spongy, circle of tissue (no puss), and it just won't heal! I have tried Calendula Oil and other natural salves, and nothing seems to work. Also tried kerosene/mineral oil, and this did not work. A buyer is coming to ride him for the 2nd time (serious buyer) on Monday, and I now have today and tomorrow only to get this to heal better. I have been working on this wound for a month. He is still slightly lame at the trot from this one, single, fleshy sore. Just applied Aspirin powder w/bandage to try to get it to reduce inflammation and absorb fleshy, proud flesh. What should I try next??? Each time I try to leave it exposed to the air, a scab/scar tissue forms, and then I have to start all over again. PLEASE HELP! I don't have much time before Sunday (2 days). Someone told me about Dragon's Blood herb. It's supposed to heal wounds. Any advice you could give me ASAP would be much appreciated. Thank you."
12/19/2010: Dmg from Philadelphia, Pa Usa replies: "I have read elsewhere that Nu Stock ointment is very very good for wounds, especially abscesses, that will not heal. People are showing photos. Also I have read that it helps clear mange on dogs and cats (although it has the possibility of causing indigestion in cats) I haven't tried it myself (yet), as I'm still trying to figure out if my cat has mange but I read it on so many sites I wanted to pass it on here."
03/22/2011: Linda from Conneautville, Pa replies: "The best remedy for proud flesh I have found is Preparation H!
I had a pony that got caught in high tensile fence and ended up taking almost all the hide off 3 legs from the knee down. One leg was all the way down to the bone. There was nothing for the vet to suture, so I was left with just keeping them clean and wrapped. I washed his legs every day with an antimicrobial scrub and packed them with furozone & rewrapped until there was tissue covering the bone again. Proud flesh started to grow and I had the vet out to have it debrided. After that, I switched to packing with Prep H. The people at Walmart must have thought I had a real problem because I would go in and buy 3 or 4 GIANT tubes at a time! (I used the store brand) I used it just as you would use any salve, but kept a close eye on it for infection. It never got infected and as it healed I eventually washed it and changed the dressing every 2 days, then every 3. When it was all said and done, there was no proud flesh what-so-ever, and all the hair came back in a normal color. There was just one small scar on his fetlock that never regrew the hair, but it was so small it was hardly noticeable. This remedy was a Godsend, and saved me hundred if not thousands in vet bills since I didn't have to have it debrided every week or so. It also left the pony almost completely scar free, which was the best part!
Needless to say, I no longer have high tensile fence! But there is definetly a tube of Preparation H in my horse first aid kit! "
08/28/2011: Lynn from Braselton, United States replies: "How do you get rid of proud flesh?"
09/14/2011: Xanadu1jw from Memphis, Tn replies: "I thought this would work so I researched it and there are lots of links on the subject of "honey wound horse" and this is the first one I looked up and felt it would answer the question. I saw posted on your site by a young woman about her horse: http://apitherapy.blogspot.com/2008/02/honey-used-to-treat-canadian-horses.html"
Mineral Oil. Kerosene
[YEA] 01/14/2010: Ashley from Monroe, Ut: "Horse wounds
A mixture of mineral oil and kerosene aids in the healing on virtually any wound on a horse. Just mix 50% mineral oil and 50% kerosene (you can buy it in the paint department at a hardware store). You spray it generously on the wound 2 times per day until the skin closes and heals. It's CHEAP and it kills infection and bacteria.
We had a mare who was caught in the barbed wire and ripped her entire chest open so far it was hanging to her knees. The vet stitched it up and said there will be a huge scar. All we did to take care of it was spray kerosene/mineral oil on it and to this day...3 years later...there is no scar. You wouldn't believe that it had ever happend to her.
This spring, her foal got in the barbed wire (talk about bad luck) and sliced up the side of her neck very deep. The only thing we did was spray it twice per day and it healed up perfectly.
We also just bought a mare that had a hard growth on her back leg from a barbed wire accident from years ago (it looks kind of like a branch growing out of her leg). The previous owner clips it off with the nippers and it just grows back. The vet didn't know what else to do to get rid of it. When we got her, we nipped it off and then sprayed the mixture on it and it hasn't grown back since.
This stuff is AWESOME.
My husband's family has been using this mixture for generations, and this is ALL we use for anything that happens to the horses. The kerosene kills bacteria and prevents proud flesh, while the mineral oil keeps the skin soft and supple to avoid cracking and drying. The kerosene keeps the flies off of the wound. The only drawback to this mixture is that wherever the spray hits, it kills the hair along with the bacteria. The hair will grow back just fine, but until it's healed up, the hair will be gone. This actually helps by keeping the hair off of the wound for easy inspection and keeps the hair from matting to the wound.
We just pour the mixture in a spray bottle and keep it on hand so it's always ready to go."
07/20/2011: Thomas5 from Challis, Idaho, United States: "MY 11 yr old quarter horse mare has sores on her front right leg above the hoof on either sides also on the right rear leg on the back side above the hoof it is crusty and quite sore we have cleaned it but I am not sure what it is and how to treat it can you please help me out? Lisa"Replies
08/13/2012: Angela from Battle Ground, In replies: "Best thing I have used is bacon grease, sulfur, and amino acid mixed with equal parts. Just put the paste on the wound and it heals nicly without scarring."
06/01/2010: 3rivers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Usa: "I am trying to figure out what would cause a Cyst on my 1 year old fillys chest and between her front legs. It came up overnight were she had healed up from a wound a year prior.The wound was so big u could put your fist in it. But I got it healed up.Now it's just a little scared so I thought maybe it was from that but it has been healed up a long time. I got online and seen something called pigeon chest , well it kinda looks like a pigeon chest except for the mass that is under her front legs. I don't think it is pigeon chest disease anyway. It was huge the liquid filled mass that grew over night on her chest. It grew to the size of a football now it's under her front legs.It wasnt bothering her at first, but now she freaks when you barly touch it. It has been 4 days now. Holiday weekend so no vet around. I punctured it with a needle and it drained almost all out the day after I noticed it. But the next day twice as big and now overlaps front leg.There is no holes or anything to try and get it to drain. Someone telling me to cut it with a razor blade. But I can't she would freak out and I just can't cut her. She fights us when we try and give penicillin shots. I dont know what to do. I figure she has an infection somewhere but I can't get her to take any antibiots to help herself. Can anyone help me out. This sight is wonderful I love it. I really need help though.Thanks allot in advance."
EC: This sounds like a very serious condition. Please see a vet as soon as possible!
08/16/2010: Maremaid from Lansing, Mi replies: "That is a very serious wound, but I've had good success with my own home made aloe vera gel. I went and bought a plant (usually fairly cheap. It had sprouts in the bucket, and I used about half of the small aloe plant and then planted the rest. But I find the efficacy of fresh aloe is far superior to the gels you find in stores. If it requires a preservative, it's probably already lost a lot of the potency by the time you get it. If you own a horse you most likely have room to plant an aloe plant, they are fairly hardy. Might I also recommend Horse Chestnut(ironic huh?)
And adding a little high quality organic oil (like dipping carrots in sunflower oil and then feeding) to the diet will help the body reform that tissue. Observant. Or you might already be using oil, either way, I mix a lot of organic into the feed, because prices are fairly similar out here. All the best. MareMaid"