"Proud Flesh" - Too much of a good thing?

Jim Hamilton, DVM


Thanks to several message board members for donating proud flesh photos.

One of the more common conditions that a vet is called in for are leg cuts. Depending on where on the leg it is and how big it is, the would is either sutured or cleaned up, bandaged and allowed to heal from the inside out. In either case, the most important thing is to discover the problem early because studies have shone that complications are much more likely with older wounds.

The two most common complications are infection and "exuberant granulation tissue" or Proud Flesh. If a cut gets infected again, the sooner it's recognized, the easier it is to deal with. Antibiotics are very important in combating infection and should be used both topically and systemically. Diligence is critical if infection is to be overcome; daily cleaning with an antibacterial soap and application of an antiseptic dressing are critical. Proud flesh is also a problem that requires persistence if it is to be beat! When a wound begins to heal the new tissue is very fragile. If the wound is located near a joint where there is a lot of motion, the fragile new tissue tends to break down and rebuild several times before the cut entirely heals. Occasionally the rebuilding phase gets out of control and new tissue "overflows" the wound - this is what is called proud flesh. If recognized early, one of the several wound powders such as Wonder Dust arrests the progression and proper healing can then occur. More often then not, the proud flesh gets a head start before it's recognized and then a more aggressive approach may be needed. Cutting or cauterizing (burning) back the mound of tissue is often necessary. As a result of this, the wound is now flush with the skin and if watched carefully, will heal properly leaving little to no scar.

Wound care is part science and part art. What to do and when to do it comes with experience and if properly guided by a veterinarian, the horse owner can almost turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.

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Dr. Hamilton, DVM
Website: http://www.spequine.com/
Dr. Hamilton now resides and practices in the Sandhills as a partner in Southern Pines Equine Associates with Dr. Tom Daniel. The practice provides complete medical and surgery services to the rapidly growing horse community in southern North Carolina. Dr. Hamilton is the author of "Equine Emergencies on the Road", published by Blue Green Publishing. "Equine Emergencies on the Road" is a glove compartment manual on prevention and treatment of enroute illness and injury of horses. This manual is on the United States Pony Club's "must read" list for 1995.

 

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