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Researchers Find Honey Heals Horses' Wounds

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  • Researchers Find Honey Heals Horses' Wounds

    Put away the other ointments. Bring out the honey jar.

    Excerpts from article:

    A simple application of honey to horses' leg wounds results in smaller wound sizes and faster healing time, University of Sydney researchers have found.

    Honey has been used to treat wounds in humans since ancient Egypt, but this study, using manuka honey from New Zealand, is the first time in the world a clinical trial has been conducted in horses.

    "Wounds in horses, particularly leg wounds, have long healing periods. But we found applying a manuka honey gel throughout healing led to 27 percent faster healing times," said lead researcher Dr Andrea Bischofberger.
    "No matter how well you perform there's always somebody of intelligent opinion who thinks it's lousy." - Laurence Olivier

  • #2
    We have seen people use sugar for some injuries, degloving ones it works on very good half way thru and until new skin is there.
    Sugar is bactericidal and astringent.
    I expect honey would be similar, since it is mostly sugar.

    Our local human wound care center, that treats many diabetics, also uses sugar/honey for some intractable ulcers, with good results.


    • #3
      My vet prescribed honey for a scrape my mare got last fall. I didn't think it was any better/worse than any other ointment.

      But I saw a case of some pretty bad road rash this spring and he prescribed honey for that as well. The road rash cleared up shockingly fast and cleanly.

      No issue with proud flesh, etc. in either case. I was skeptical after just my mare, but am a lot more open minded after seeing how it worked on the horse with road rash.
      She Gets Lost


      • #4
        My SO compared treatment of two identical wounds with triple antibiotic ointment on one and local honey on the other. I have to say I was frankly amazed to see the one treated with honey stay cleaner and healthier looking, and heal faster by a margin of a few days. Less scarring as well.
        Patience pays.


        • #5
          But what about the bug attraction?
          "Everyone will start to cheer, when you put on your sailin shoes"-Lowell George


          • #6
            My ranch hand also works for a local organic honey place so we treat lots of wounds with honey. We also use it for mild respiratory issues (for example, we've been having major issues with smoke from wildfires and noticed a bit improvement after feeding it to all the horses). We've used it on everything from mild scrapes to major wounds and frankly I'm amazed with the healing properties. We use mostly buckwheat honey. From experience I can say that works better on respiratory issues than others, although it tastes horrible. Really, I didn't think honey could taste bad until I had a nasty cough and he gave me buckwheat honey for it. But it works!

            A friend of mine is married to a doctor and she says that he uses honey almost exclusively to treat bed sores on immobile patients, as well as wounds on diabetics.

            Originally posted by Toadie's mom View Post
            But what about the bug attraction?
            I haven't noticed too big of an issue, but mostly what we've treated we have kept wrapped. On the unwrapped ones I haven't seen a bigger problem than with any other wound dressing. I put Swat around the edges and that mostly takes care of it.

            I will say, though, that I live in the desert and we have a relatively small bug problem at any rate, so YMMV.

            eta: For anyone who read my posts about my little goat Ollie, a juvenile Nigerian Dwarf goat who was attacked by dogs, we wound up treating his extremely deep and nasty wounds with honey. Those were the worst we've treated. I honestly thought he would die from them. Now, he only has very tiny scars. I can feel them because I know where to put my fingers, but you literally cannot see them. Even our vet was amazed at how well he healed, and honey was the only topical treatment we used (he did also get antibiotics due to the likelihood of infection, but not topical ones). I wish I'd documented it with pictures, but due to a broken camera and frankly not expecting good results, I didn't bother. I'm kicking myself for that now.
            Last edited by CosMonster; Jun. 29, 2011, 11:56 PM.
            exploring the relationship between horse and human


            • #7
              I've used suger (plain white sugar from the grocery store) on several deep wounds with great results.


              • #8
                Yes, I saw pictures of a horse two winters ago who had a gaping wound to his chest (was chased by wolves, got through fences and was hit by a car - many witnesses to the wolves! so no charge to the owner). First the owner stopped the bleeding with cob webs!!! then the vet recommended honey (luckily it was in the winter) and the horse healed amazingly well and this summer, he is back to logging/pulling timber out of the woods!!


                • #9
                  Meh, my wife wrote about that 3 years ago here: http://www.natural-horse-training-me...rses-naturally

                  from a source article:

                  Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...


                  • #10
                    Also, every time I brew a batch of mead, I use at least 5# of raw, unfiltered honey for that precise reason :=) It's medicinal!
                    Nudging "Almost Heaven" a little closer still...


                    • #11
                      I used manuka honey on my horse's small puncture wound on the front of his fetlock last fall... The wound was tiny (from a thorn off a honey locust tree, I suspect), but it Just. Would. Not. Heal. It would get better, then abscess; get better, then abscess. Fortunately it wasn't in the joint cavity and he wasn't lame on it, but it hung around forever. Vet treated it 2x, couldn't find anything, suspected there was some tiny fleck of irritant in there that just needed to work itself out.

                      I'd clean it, slather on a glob of manuka honey, then wrap it with gauze/vetwrap and send him on his way. I think the honey kept it from getting WORSE, but it didn't really get better, either. Eventually I switched to an Animalintex poultice pad (that I'd heard about on here), and within 2-3 days it blew one more abscess and that was finally it.

                      With that being said, I still keep a jar of manuka honey in my first aid kit, and I wouldn't hesitate to use it again if the situation warranted.
                      *friend of bar.ka

                      "Evidently, I am an unrepentant b*tch, possible trouble maker, and all around super villian"


                      • #12
                        Uh...this is news? Everyone knows honey is good for wounds, at least I thought they did. Like, for centuries.

                        I wouldn't put it on an animal outside, though. At least unless it was the dead of winter and there were no bugs anywhere.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by danceronice View Post
                          Uh...this is news? Everyone knows honey is good for wounds, at least I thought they did. Like, for centuries.
                          Yes, the Ancient Egyptians used honey... its not that new of a treatment


                          • #14
                            I've used honey for years, excellent for wounds. Also black pepper makes a wonderful blood clotter for wounds as well if you happen to be around when the damage is fresh.
                            Originally posted by ExJumper
                            Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                            • #15
                              The study actually compared manuka honey (made from bees living on manuka flowers, native to NZ) with other treatments. I (and most people I know) have been using manuka honey to treat wounds on horses and humans for years. Manuka extract is anti-fungal, anti-biotic and anti-septic. Pretty amazing stuff. Manuka soap clears up lots of skin conditions. Oil is great for acne or pussy wounds - kills off the bugs and dries them out really well.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by phoebetrainer View Post
                                The study actually compared manuka honey (made from bees living on manuka flowers, native to NZ) with other treatments. I (and most people I know) have been using manuka honey to treat wounds on horses and humans for years. Manuka extract is anti-fungal, anti-biotic and anti-septic. Pretty amazing stuff. Manuka soap clears up lots of skin conditions. Oil is great for acne or pussy wounds - kills off the bugs and dries them out really well.
                                I don't know what is in manuka, but what you describe are properties of sugar itself, doesn't even has to be in honey.
                                I think honey is a handy way to apply sugar, since most comes in granulated, not liquid form.


                                • #17
                                  Manuka honey spray is wonderful for strep and sore throats on humans. A friend told me about it - just spray like a throat spray.

                                  If I put honey or sugar on a leg wound, my horse would surely be licking it!