Thursday, July 25, 2019

Repairing wounds with honey

Horses are renowned for their ability to attract wounds.  Under ideal conditions, surgical repair may lead to rapid (“first intention”) healing. However, wound breakdown is not uncommon, particularly in lower limb injuries. Factors such as infection and movement are significant problems.

Research from Israel suggests that applying medical grade honey to the wound, as it is repaired, may help control infection and reduce wound breakdown.

The study, from the Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has been published in the Equine Veterinary Journal.

Eleven veterinarians were involved – between them treating 127 lacerations. Most wounds (30%) were on the lower limb. Upper limb wounds accounted for 28% and head wounds a further 24%.
Wounds were repaired using a standardised protocol, with some being chosen at random to have medical grade honey (MGH*) applied to the wound. (Medical grade honey has been sterilised by gamma radiation to eradicate any bacterial spores - such as Bacillus spp and Clostridium spp - that may be found in raw honey.)

In all, 69 wounds received an application of MGH; 58 did not.

The study’s authors report that, compared to control horses, those treated with MGH were more likely to heal completely, and to have no signs of infection. No adverse effects of the MGH were reported.
They conclude that intralesional application of MGH to lacerations before closure may help prevent infection and wound breakdown. 

They point out that this was a non-blinded clinical trial relying on subjective assessments of wound healing and as such was open to bias. They suggest that larger, blinded studies focusing on wounds at a specific location with more objective assessment should be pursued.

For more details, see:

Intralesional application of medical grade honey improves healing of surgically treated lacerations in horses
H. H. Mandel, G. A. Sutton, E. Abu, G. Kelmer.
Equine Veterinary Journal 2019

*L‐mesitran soft® Triticum, Maastricht, the Netherlands.


SiouxieSue said...

Hi, you don't need to use MGH. I successfully healed a bad cut under my horses knee using cheap honey from a squeezy bottle put on a nappy (poultice), then gamgee, then bandage. Once the wound started drying I switched from the honey to organic aloe vera gel to help the cells slide over each other to heal. End result, barely visible scar with no grey hairs. Whole process took about six weeks.

Joost Postmes, CEO for Mesitran wound care products said...

You are right: why should it not be valid to question why one would use a sterile quality controlled product with a certified efficacy rather than the 'sliding cell' method you described. Did you know that 25% of the honeys in the world are contaminated with clostridium botulinum, endospores that can cause wound botulism? That should be reason enough to not use the cheapest bottle of sugary substance you can find. In short, follow the link to the article in full and you will actually see that using a controlled product makes all the sense in the world. By the way ..... a tube of the Mesitran product is available via Amazon for as little as 6 USD, and you do not need to cover that bad cut. Most likely that would have been cheaper than your nappy/sliding cell method.