OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of manuka honey on second-intention healing of contaminated, full-thickness skin wounds in horses.
STUDY DESIGN: Experimental.
ANIMALS: Adult Standardbred horses (n = 8).
METHODS: One wound was created on the dorsomedial aspect of the third metacarpus in both forelimbs, contaminated with feces, and bandaged for 24 hours. Bandages were removed and wounds rinsed with isotonic saline solution. Wounds on 1 limb had manuka honey applied daily (n = 8) whereas wounds on the contralateral limb received no treatment (n = 8). Bandages were replaced and changed daily for 12 days, after which treatment stopped, bandages were removed, leaving wounds open to heal. Wound area was measured 24 hours after wound creation (day 1), then weekly for 8 weeks. Overall time for healing was recorded. Wound area and rate of healing of treated and control wounds were compared statistically.
RESULTS: Treatment with manuka honey decreased wound retraction and treated wounds remained significantly smaller than control wounds until day 42; however, there was no difference in overall healing time between treatment and control wounds.
CONCLUSIONS: Treatment with manuka honey reduced wound area by reducing retraction but did not affect overall healing time of full-thickness distal limb wounds using this wound-healing model.