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As any horse owner knows, horses get their share of cuts and scrapes. If you're inclined to reach for something natural, consider honey. Honey has been used for centuries because of its antimicrobial properties. When raw, the enzymes are still active, and work well as a topical first aid. Because of its high sugar content and low pH, it kills microbes by making the environment more acidic, while also drawing water out of cells.
Manuka honey is especially effective -- collected from the Tea Tree manuka bush native to New Zealand, manuka honey has a higher enzymatic activity, making it more potent than other forms. When eaten, it is helpful for seasonal allergies that affect the skin and respiratory system. When applied to a wound, manuka honey has been shown to speed healing. Researchers at the University of Sydney's Veterinary Science and Clinical Training Unit compared healing time of open leg wounds over a 12-day treatment period; they found a significant improvement in the honey-treated group: reduction in healing time, size of wound, and amount of proud flesh produced.
Manuka honey can be applied in its natural state, but it is messy and attracts flies; therefore, it requires bandaging. Commercial dealers offer a medicinal gel that also promotes healing while being easier to apply. Consider including it in your horse's medicine kit. .
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Juliet M. Getty, Ph.D. is an independent equine nutritionist offering nutrition services for all life stages and integrative support for disorders and diseases. Your horse's quality of life is Dr. Getty's priority.
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