If your horse gets an injury, it is important to help he or she heal as quickly and completely as possible. Even minor cuts can take horses quite a while to heal. Manuka honey is being used on horse wounds with great success and best of all, it’s totally safe to use even if the horse licks its wounds.
A study done at the University of Sydney found that Manuka honey reduced healing time in horse wounds from about 64 days to about 47 days. That is a big difference considering that a bandaged cut in a barnyard setting is a breeding ground for bacteria and any shortening of the time that a wound is actually open is a good thing. The horses in the study also had less puffiness and irritation around the wounds when compared to the untreated control group.
The researchers used UMF 20+ in their studies and they recommend using UMF 10 or higher for the most healing benefits. They also say that all honey, even processed honey, has some antibacterial properties.
An equine veterinarian based in New South Wales, Australia, wrote in Horse Magazine about his experiments using Manuka honey as well as regular honey on severe horse wounds that otherwise would have resulted in the horses being euthanized. He says that wound healing is often halved when using honey and he says that he’s had success with regular honey as well as Manuka. This is probably because, as the researchers from the University of Sydney state, all honey has antibacterial properties. If you can’t get UMF 10 or higher Manuka and you need to treat your horse’s wound, try using regular honey from the grocery.
How to Use Manuka Honey for Horses
The researchers at the University of Sydney found that Manuka honey works effectively even if diluted. They made a Manuka gel consisting of 66% honey and 34% water based gel. Not only will this make it easier to apply to the wound, but you will save a little money if using a high UMF rated honey.
The University of Sydney researchers found that semi-occlusive dressings that let air and gas pass through were most effective and that removing the dressings after 12 days worked well. If the horse gets a taste for the honey and begins licking it off before it can work its magic, they suggested using disposable diapers for an hour to let it work or just apply several times per day. The equine vet in Australia has a different bandaging method that he describes in great detail here.
Whatever method you use, we’d love to hear whether you’ve had success using Manuka honey for horses … leave a comment below and let us know!