Proud Flesh - Horses [Skip to Content]

Illinois Livestock Trail

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We have a 22 YO gelding who has developed proud flesh as a result of an injury to the skin over one of his hocks. Is there a treatment that will eliminate the proud flesh and promote healing?


Unfortunately, the answer to your question is "it all depends". When dealing with proud flesh there is no blank treatment that works in every case.

Older horses may have a suppressed immune system thus a reduced level of healing. Two important factors to consider in treating proud flesh are how extensive and how thick the proud flesh is.

The hock area bends and thus first intention healing seldom occurrs. It may require a veterinarian surgically trim theproud flesh back to skin level.

Antibiotic ointments with corticosteroids often can keep proud flesh in check while healing takes place. With cool weather at least the irritation from flies will cease and that should help.

There are a number of meds and mixtures that can help reduce proud flesh. However, be forewarned that over use or misuse may result in the lesion not healing at all or in formation of excessive proud flesh or scar tissue. Caustic powders have been used as well as Adolphs meat tenderizer or any other form of the enzyme Papain. Apply it liberally daily and wipe off before reapplying. Most ointments contain petroleum products which are not useful in treating proud flesh so avoid ointments.

I think it needs to be evaluated by a veterinarian who can then recommend a course of treatment.

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