Proud Flesh

By: Dr. Lydia Gray

What is it?

Proud flesh is overgrowth of the normal tissue that fills in healing wounds. Also known as exuberant granulation tissue, it occurs most commonly with injuries on the lower legs of horses and can be recognized by its rough, red appearance. However, any wound that has been left open to heal rather than sutured closed is at risk of developing proud flesh.

What can be done about it?

If the proud flesh is noticed right away, applying a specific ointment and putting on a pressure bandage might be enough to reduce the excessive granulation tissue and allow normal healing to resume. However, if the proud flesh has grown so large that it protrudes from the wound, a veterinarian may need to surgically remove the tissue. In some cases, a skin graft or cast is necessary to prevent the proud flesh from returning.

What else do I need to know?

The best way to manage proud flesh is to prevent it from ever forming. Observe all horses on the property daily for injuries and treat any wounds as soon as they occur. When in doubt of the extent of an injury and the best way to treat it, contact a veterinarian. Do not put caustic materials on wounds or proud flesh because normal tissue can be killed along with the abnormal tissue and make the injury worse.


SmartPak strongly encourages you to consult your veterinarian regarding specific questions about your horse's health. This information is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease, and is purely educational.