Proud flesh is a common term used for “excessive” granulation tissue. Granulation tissue is pink to red in color, firm and has a roughened appearance and is found within an open wound.
Granulation tissue is produced three to four days after the wound has occurred. It is the intermediate step in the healing process. Wounds heal by producing a bed of granulation tissue, and contracting from the edges eventually covering the surface. As compared to other species, the equine species is the only species that can produce “proud flesh” or an excessive amount of granulation tissue. This granulation tissue is necessary until it becomes excessive or “proud” meaning that it starts to protrude out above the level of the wound’s edges. When the granulation tissue protrudes, the wound’s edges cannot contract and therefore the healing process is stalled.
Excessive granulation tissue is more prevalent in wounds that occur below the knees and hocks. The reason for this excessive proliferation is unknown. Many of the causes of proud flesh can be eliminated or managed with good wound care. Because of the tendencies to produce excessive granulation tissue in these areas, lacerations that may need suturing should be seen by your veterinarian within 4-8 hours of occurrence. Some wounds, if sutured, can prevent excessive granulation tissue from forming.
Many forms of therapy are used to remove or inhibit the formation of excessive granulation tissue. Consult your veterinarian for treatment options.