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Say Goodbye to Proud Flesh: Healing Wounds in Horses

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As my son and I walked the pasture, I noticed a fresh cut on my horse’s lower foreleg. I called for my grandson to grab a lead rope and halter, and we brought him to the barn. I flushed the wound with saline, applied Wonder Dust, and wrapped the leg, hoping to prevent proud flesh from developing.

Proud flesh is when a wound doesn’t heal properly and becomes raised and puffy. It is a common issue in horses and results from the formation of excessive granulation tissue. The excessive tissue causes the wound to take longer to heal and, in some cases, becomes chronic.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about proud flesh, including what it is, why it happens, and how to prevent it from happening to your horse. So, let’s dive in and discover how to keep your horse free of proud flesh.

Understanding Proud Flesh in Horses

Proud flesh is a common issue that can significantly impact a horse’s health, and it’s something that I have seen firsthand in my own horses over the years. I remember one horse in particular, named Blackie, who developed proud flesh after cutting its leg on a fence.

Picture of a horse with a cut leg.
Lower leg laceration

Initially, the wound was cleaned and treated, but over time, we noticed that the tissue around the wound was becoming raised and red, taking a long time to heal. After seeking veterinary care, we found out he developed proud flesh.

He advised us to continue cleaning the wound regularly, use appropriate wound dressings, and call him back if it exacerbates. Despite our efforts, the proud flesh continued to worsen, causing Blackie pain and discomfort when walking.

We eventually had to have the proud flesh cut out. The experience with Blackie taught me the importance of being aggressive and proactive when it comes to treating wounds and preventing proud flesh.

I learned that proper wound care, early intervention, and seeking veterinary care are essential when you are dealing with lacerations on horses’ legs to minimize proud flesh.

What is “proud flesh?”

Proud flesh can occur in most animals and even humans; it’s caused by the overproduction of granulation tissue. This tissue naturally forms in the body in response to injury; however, when it grows excessively and rises above the surrounding skin’s level, it’s referred to as proud flesh.

As a horse owner, it’s essential to understand what proud flesh is and how it can impact the health and well-being of your horse. I’ve been around horses for a long time, and I’ve seen many horses develop it.

The causes of proud flesh vary, ranging from the location and size of the wound to the horse’s overall health. In some cases, you can prevent proud flesh through proper wound care and early intervention, but surgery may be necessary in other cases.

Supportive care, such as stabling and limiting movement, can help speed healing and prevent proud flesh from reoccurring. Understanding proud flesh is crucial for ensuring the health and well-being of your horses.

Picture of a person wrapping a cut on a horses lower leg.
Wrapping a laceration
Symptoms of Proud FleshDescription
Excessive granulation tissueIt has raised pink or red tissue that is higher than the surrounding skin.
Slow wound healingInterference with the normal healing process causes the wound to take longer to heal.
Pain or discomfortIt can be painful for the horse, causing discomfort and inconvenience.
Discharge or bleedingIt can cause discharge or bleeding from the wound.
InfectionIncreased risk of wound infection.

How to prevent Proud Flesh

Inflammation and infection are the culprits that lead to wounds developing proud flesh. As a prudent horse owner, you can take several steps to prevent proud flesh in your horses:

  1. Proper wound care: Flush the wound with a saline solution initially, clean it regularly, and apply appropriate dressings to prevent infection and promote healing.
  2. Apply topical medication: Antibiotic and corticosteroid ointments can help treat wound infections, reduce swelling, and stimulate recovery.
  3. Early intervention: If you notice any signs of proud flesh, seek veterinary care immediately. Early treatment can help to prevent complications and promote healing.
  4. Minimize movement: Limit your horse’s movement as much as possible to reduce the risk of further injury and promote healing.
  5. Maintain good nutrition: Ensure your horse receives a balanced diet with adequate levels of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to support its overall health and healing.
  6. Avoid harsh treatments: Avoid using harsh treatments, such as caustic agents, to clean wounds, as these can cause further damage and increase the risk of Proud flesh.
  7. Regular veterinary check-ups: Schedule regular veterinary check-ups to monitor your horse’s health and ensure any issues are caught and treated early.

I’ve used Wonder Dust to treat open wounds on my horses for years. It promotes the formation of new, healthy tissue and reduces the growth of excessive granulation tissue, which is the hallmark of proud flesh.

Picture of a horse with a cut on its upper leg, looks like proud flesh is developing.
Abrassion on a horse’s upper hind leg

Proud Flesh treatments

There are a few ways to treat proud flesh in horses. If the horse’s wound is infected, you want to get your vet to check it out and possibly treat it with antibiotics. In addition, topical steroids are often recommended to control the production of granulation tissue by reducing inflammation.

Another treatment option is surgical debridement. This is necessary when the proud flesh becomes large and stops the wound from closing. Trimming the granulation tissue down to the healthy wound bed allows healing to begin.

I had a horse develop proud flesh a few years back, and the vet cut it off in the stall and wrapped our horse’s leg. The process was quick, seemed painless, and my horse fully recovered without incident.

Here is a good YouTube video showing the removal of proud flesh.

Home remedies for proud flesh.

I have found some useful home remedies that support the healing process and prevent the development of proud flesh.

Here are some home remedies that I have used to help heal my horse’s wounds:

  1. Honey: I have found that honey is a natural antibacterial agent that can be applied to wounds to prevent infection and promote healing. I simply apply a thin layer of honey over the wound and cover it with a bandage.
  2. Apple cider vinegar: I have used apple cider vinegar to reduce inflammation and promote healing in wounds. I dilute the vinegar with equal parts water, add black pepper to thicken it, and apply it to the wound. Cover the wound is possible with a wrap.
  3. Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera gel is known for its natural healing properties and can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. I apply a thin layer of Aloe Vera gel to the wound and cover it with a bandage.

While home remedies can be helpful in supporting the healing process, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure the best possible outcome.

Impact of Proud Flesh on Horse’s Health and Performance

When a horse has proud flesh, the excessive tissue around the wound can cause pain and discomfort, resulting in reduced mobility and decreased ability to perform. Additionally, it can cause slow wound healing and increase the risk of infection, which can negatively impact a horse’s performance.

For instance, if a horse is used for athletic purposes, such as jumping or racing, and has proud flesh in a critical area, such as its legs, it may be unable to perform at its best and may even have to be given time off.

Proud flesh can significantly impact a horse’s performance and should be taken seriously by horse owners and handlers. By being proactive and seeking veterinary care when necessary, horse owners can help minimize proud flesh’s impact on their horse’s performance.

Picture of a horse getting its front legs wrapped to prevent proud flesh.

Preventing infections

It’s important to prevent infections because wounds become inflamed, often leading to excess granulation tissue and, eventually, proud flesh. The excess tissue makes it difficult for wounds to heal and creates an ideal environment for further infections.

By providing proper wound care, including cleaning the wound regularly, using appropriate wound dressings, and seeking veterinary care if needed, horse owners can help ensure their horse’s wounds don’t become infected and can heal properly and quickly.

Treating horse wounds is a crucial aspect of horse care. When a horse sustains an injury, it’s essential to attend to the wound promptly to minimize the risk of infection and promote healing. Infection is a significant reason proud flesh forms.

An infected wound can lead to serious health problems and become a source of pain and discomfort for the horse. Additionally, it can also take longer to heal, causing the horse to be out of commission for an extended period.

This not only improves the horse’s quality of life but also helps to prevent future health problems and costly veterinary bills. In short, treating wounds correctly is crucial for maintaining your horses’ overall health.


Proud flesh is a common problem that horse owners encounter, but with the right knowledge and care, it can be prevented and treated effectively. Regularly checking your horse’s wounds and seeking veterinary advice is crucial.

From understanding the symptoms to exploring the various treatments available, including home remedies and topical solutions, it is possible to help your horse recover from a bout of proud flesh.


What is proud flesh in humans?

Proud flesh in humans is referred to as hyper granulation, over granulation, exuberant tissue, or persistent granulation tissue. It occurs when the scab’s normal granulation tissue continues to grow and doesn’t go away.