by Cynthia Cooper
I’m always looking for natural alternatives when it comes to treating horses and I believe they can work well in conjunction with modern medicine.
A while ago now, I had a yearling filly (Ruby) badly injured from wire cuts. She had severed the flexor (front) tendons on her off fore and near hind, and had stripped an 8″ section of flesh to the bone on the front of her off hind.
Both back legs had severed tendons and even after 10 days the bone showed through and proud flesh was rapidly developing following conventional treatment.
After initially stitching the worst cut, I had the tendons operated on so they would have some hope of repairing.
A week after the operation I had her home as a full time patient requiring her bandages changed every couple of days, confinement and a diet to help her heal.
Initially, I followed the vet’s advice and used the antiseptic lotion and ‘green grease’ provided for under the bandages.
It only took about 5 days for the flesh to cover the exposed bone and at that point I started my alternative treatments.
I cleaned the wounds with Calendula tea and then applied pure Tasmanian bush honey.
I can’t recall where I’d heard of using honey, but I was amazed at what I discovered.
Usually, leg wounds develop a lot of proud flesh which can become a real problem if not controlled.
Traditional methods include using things like ‘Yellow Lotion”, copper sulphate solution and very firm bandaging.
Or simply allowing it to grow then having it surgically removed.
What I found was that the honey seemed to naturally control the growth of the flesh so that it didn’t develop more than necessary.
Upon further research, I found that Honey has long been known for its special anti bacterial qualities and ability to heal.
It has been used since Egyptian times and is currently making a comeback in human treatment of long standing wounds.
Apparently there are is even a certain type of honey from Queensland known for its exceptional healing ability.
The one thing that is important I discovered, is to use only pure, un-processed honey.
Heat treating honey (as they do for longer shelf life) seems to ruin its anti -bacterial qualities.
Back to the treatment of Ruby – as I lived only a 15 minute float trip from the beach I decided to use the sea to cleanse her wounds.
It became a great educational experience with regular float trips, learning to go in the sea (no waves) and to lead from another horse.
The only disaster I had, was once when riding Manny with Ruby in tow – he must have stepped on something that moved for all of a sudden he shot forward and I got dumped over the back, landing with a big splash under Ruby’s nose!
This scared her enough to want out of there so she started to head out to sea! Luckily she responded to my calls and came straight back.
After treatment with honey and salt water, they were much improved.
After a month of bandaging, there was enough healthy flesh reducing the size of the wounds, to leave them open to the air.
I continued to apply honey twice daily as she often licked it off! Even though it was summer, I didn’t have any problems with the honey attracting wasps.
As you can see from the photos, the healing was clean and the scarring minimal considering the original size of the wounds.
A few months later the scars are almost healed and proud flesh reduced.
Now her legs are healed and sound even though there is still some unsightly scars.
Fortunately she didn’t suffer any loss of movement and the tendons repaired effectively.
I have since heard of several cases (and experienced myself) where honey was used straight onto smaller cuts and they healed very nicely.
For more information search on “honey + for + healing” which gives you hundreds of web sites to choose from.
Ruby recovered from her horrific leg wounds with the aid of honey.