Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Using Honey to Treat Horse Wounds?

This article was originally posted on Yahoo and titled - "The Horse Called Miracle Who Cheated Death With The Help Of Honey". Isn’t it funny how a horse likes honey? A horse who was on the verge of being put down has made a miraculous recovery thanks to a few dollops of the sweet stuff.

The animal, appropriately called Miracle, collided with a fence and suffered a 12-inch gash in her leg. “We don’t know what Miracle did but it was a horrible injury,” said Sue Gessey, 40, who runs the Animal Healing Trust in Withal, Worcestershire. “I arrived at the centre in the morning and she was in the field with her leg gaping and there was blood everywhere. “She must have caught her leg on a fence in a freak accident. “When I looked closer I saw a huge piece of skin flapping around with blood pouring out. It was horrible.”

Sue had taken Miracle in as a rescue horse. She was saved from the knacker’s yard four years ago, only to come close to death again with the horrific injury.

One vet recommended Miracle be put to sleep after suffering the gash in her leg, but Sue wouldn’t contemplate that course of action, and found another vet who suggested putting honey on the wound twice a day.

Comment from Functional Horsemanship: I've seen some pretty horrific injuries on horses. I've always felt that my Vets never sugar coated recovery or anything but giving me good advice. But I have never have a Vet tell me a horse should be put down from a soft tissue injury without trying to treat it. I realize Miracle was a rescue horse, but they all deserve a fair effort on our parts.

Honey from the charity’s own beehives was used on Miracle’s leg. Unbelievably, after six days Miracle was able to put weight on the leg, and after five weeks had made a full recovery. “For the next three days the vet was calling me telling me I needed to put Miracle down, but I couldn’t believe it.” Sue found the honey suggestion while researching online, before a different vet also mentioned the unusual treatment. “He operated on her in the field for £400 and then said I needed to apply honey to the wound every day, which would work as a natural antiseptic,” she said.

“That was no problem for me, as we have our own beehive for exactly that. I believe that’s why she made such an amazing recovery, it was like silk binding her leg back together.”

Miracle got her name from her first brush with death, when she was saved from slaughter four years ago with just hours to spare. “After her latest scare she’s certainly living up to her name,” said Sue.

Comment from Functional Horsemanship: I've never heard of using honey on wounds before. I would be hesitant to use honey because of attracting insects, but  I did some research on using honey on wounds and it appears to be a legitimate remedy. According to DermNetNZ honey has antimicrobial properties because the lack of water inhibits the growth of microorganisms and when honey is diluted by wound fluids, hydrogen peroxide is produced in the reaction. This may be why the hydrogen peroxide based Vetericyn works so well on soft tissue wounds. DermNetNZ went on to explain honey appears to stimulate lymphocytic and phagocytic activity which are key body immune responses in the battle against infection. I'll think I will still be using Vetericyn on wounds that my horses get, but I won't be forgetting about the use of honey. Heck, I'll likely be needing it on myself as clumsily as I am with knives and such.

If you are interested in learning more, then click on the DermNetNZ link which will take you to their site and further explains what type of honey to use and how to use honey on the wound.

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