Proud Flesh


What Is It? | Treatment | Prevention

  • Proud flesh (granulation tissue) is an overabundance of new tissue produced during the rebuilding phase of wound healing.
  • Wounds should be treated as soon as possible because untreated wounds are more likely to become infected or develop excessive proud flesh, preventing wound healing.
  • Proper bandaging is very important in minimizing proud flesh and contamination of wounds.

What Is It?

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 wound heals completely. In some cases, an overabundance of new tissue is produced during the rebuilding phase of healing, overrunning the wound and impeding the healing process. This exuberant granulation tissue is called proud flesh, which is common in leg lacerations—one of the most common conditions that veterinarians evaluate in horses.

Treatment

Wounds should be treated as soon as possible because untreated wounds are more likely to become infected or develop proud flesh. The treatment of wounds with proud flesh usually depends on the extent of the overgrowth. If proud flesh is detected early, its progression can be diminished by applying special wound powders, allowing normal healing to continue. More often, however, excessive proud flesh is not detected immediately and must be trimmed by a veterinarian to permit proper healing. With proper care, the wound can then heal with little or no scarring.

Prevention

Bandaging is very important in helping prevent proud flesh and contamination of wounds. Bandaging helps to maintain a healthy wound environment for healing and reduces motion of wound tissue. Pressure from a bandage can help to prevent proud flesh. Wounds should be covered with a nonstick pad and a conforming gauze bandage. Depending on the location of the wound, the gauze can be covered with a thick cotton bandage such as a standing wrap to prevent contamination from bedding and dirt.