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Proud Flesh in Horses: Treating Equine Wounds Successfully

Last updated: July 9, 2023

By: Miles HenryFact Checked

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During a routine pasture walk with my son, we noticed a fresh cut on our horse’s leg. Quickly, we led him to the barn. There, we cleaned the wound, applied Wonder Dust, and wrapped it up, aiming to prevent proud flesh.

‘Proud flesh’ refers to when a horse wound heals poorly, leaving a raised, puffy area. This happens because of the formation of excessive granulation tissue—an overeager attempt by the body to heal itself, but it often results in wounds taking longer to heal, and sometimes they become a chronic issue.

In this article, we’ll demystify proud flesh. We’ll explore what it is, why it happens, how to treat it, and most importantly, how to prevent it. So, let’s dive in and learn how to keep your horse healthy and free from 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 In Your Horse.

Prevention is the name of the game, especially when it comes to proud flesh in our equine companions. By understanding what causes proud flesh and dedicating some time to careful wound management, we horse owners can put preventive measures in place that could save us a lot of headaches down the line. Now, let’s take a look at how you can get one step ahead of proud flesh.

First off, we need to talk about wound care. From the get-go, make sure you’re flushing any wounds with a saline solution, keeping them clean, and dressing them appropriately. This isn’t just about warding off infections—it’s about creating an environment that’s conducive to healing.

Next up, we’ve got topical meds. Antibiotics and corticosteroids are your friends when it comes to treating wound infections, easing inflammation, and nudging the healing process along. One thing I can’t stress enough is the importance of early intervention.

If you see any signs of proud flesh developing, get your vet involved ASAP. This early intervention can prevent a molehill from becoming a mountain and help your horse heal faster. It’s also worth considering how much your horse is moving around. Try to limit their movement as much as possible to reduce the risk of making an injury worse.

And let’s not forget about diet—it plays a big role in your horse’s overall health and healing. Make sure your horse’s meals are balanced and packed with the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need. Be cautious with the treatments you’re using, too.

Some folks swear by harsh treatments like caustic agents for cleaning wounds, but they can actually cause more harm than good and increase the risk of proud flesh. Last but not least, don’t skip those vet check-ups. Regular visits to the vet can help catch any issues early and ensure they’re dealt with promptly.

In my experience, Wonder Dust has been a godsend for treating open wounds. It encourages new, healthy tissue growth and seems to do wonders for my horses’ recovery.

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

Proud Flesh Treatments

Tackling proud flesh in horses necessitates a multifaceted approach, encompassing a variety of treatments that cater to the horse’s specific needs. When a wound becomes infected, your first port of call should be your trusted veterinarian. They can assess the severity of the condition and, if necessary, prescribe antibiotics to combat the infection.

Topical steroids, a common recommendation in such situations, work wonders in controlling granulation tissue production. By reducing inflammation, these medications facilitate a more efficient and streamlined healing process, keeping excessive tissue growth in check.

In more severe cases where proud flesh becomes larger and obstructs wound closure, surgical debridement becomes a viable option. This procedure involves trimming the overgrown granulation tissue down to the level of the healthy wound bed, enabling healing to recommence.

Although it may sound daunting, it’s standard practice and typically executed without any significant discomfort to the horse. Drawing from personal experience, a horse in my care developed proud flesh a few years back.

Upon our vet’s recommendation, we opted for surgical debridement. The process was remarkably swift and took place right in the stall. Despite the grim scenario, my horse appeared unperturbed by the procedure.

His leg was bandaged post-procedure, and he was on the mend in no time. In retrospect, witnessing his smooth recovery was a testament to the effectiveness of immediate and appropriate intervention in proud flesh cases.

In summary, managing proud flesh entails a mix of professional care, appropriate medication, and surgical intervention when necessary. It underscores the importance of personalized treatment, considering the unique circumstances and needs of each horse.

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

YouTube video

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 proud flesh forms on a horse, it often brings with it a host of complications. Excessive tissue growth around the wound can cause pain and discomfort, leading to a noticeable decline in mobility and performance.

Not only does it impede the healing process, but it also opens the door to potential infections, throwing a wrench in the horse’s overall well-being and its ability to perform at its peak. I had a horse TeeTee, who was extremely energetic.

She developed proud flesh on one of her legs, which significantly hampered her ability to train. The once lively horse was not only physically affected but seemed to lose her spirit as well, a reminder of how physical discomfort can impact overall morale.

This experience was particularly challenging when it came to running. Despite her spirit and will, TeeTee simply could not perform at her best due to the discomfort caused by proud flesh. I had to give her time off, which was restricted to stall rest and hand grazing. This was difficult for me because I knew how much she loved to run and play.

The journey I embarked on to treat TeeTee’s proud flesh reinforced the seriousness of this condition. It isn’t a problem to be brushed aside but one that necessitates immediate attention and care.

By being proactive, understanding the early signs, and seeking veterinary care promptly, horse owners can significantly minimize the impact of proud flesh on their horse’s performance. Remember, it’s not just about ensuring our horses can perform their best in their athletic pursuits but also about ensuring they live comfortably and happily.

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

Effective Wound Management

When it comes to wound healing, prevention of infection is critical. Infections can cause inflammation, leading to an overgrowth of granulation tissue, commonly known as proud flesh. This excess tissue can interfere with the healing process and create a hotspot for further infections.

Providing proper wound care is non-negotiable. This includes regularly cleaning the wound, using suitable dressings, and not hesitating to seek veterinary care when necessary. Effective wound management not only speeds up the healing process but also helps prevent potential infections.

Treating horse wounds promptly and appropriately is a vital part of horse care. A delay or neglect can amplify the risk of infections, which is a leading cause of proud flesh. An infected wound can become a source of major discomfort for the horse and may also require more time to heal, keeping your horse out of action for a longer period.

The Role of Skin Health in Preventing Proud Flesh

The health of your horse’s skin plays a significant role in wound recovery. Healthy skin is more resilient and can heal more quickly, reducing the chance of proud flesh formation. To maintain skin health, consider implementing a regular grooming routine, providing a balanced diet, and using topical skin care products when necessary. Remember, healthy skin is the first line of defense against wounds and infections.


Navigating the challenges of proud flesh can be a daunting task for any horse owner. However, armed with the right knowledge and diligence, it’s a condition that can be effectively managed and even prevented.

It’s essential to keep a keen eye on your horse’s wounds, monitor them regularly, and never hesitate to seek advice from a veterinarian. Broadening your understanding of proud flesh, from spotting the symptoms to exploring the multitude of treatment options – be it home remedies or topical solutions – can make a significant difference in your horse’s recovery process.

Remember, the journey to recovery is not a sprint, but a marathon, demanding patience and persistence. In the end, the reward is a healthy, happy horse – a goal worth striving for every single day.


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.