I started applying the benefits of emu oil to veterinary medicine approximately one year ago. An emu breeder informed me of the human application, i.e., moisturizer, anti-inflamatory and transport carrier for medicine. Considering these human applications it seemed reasonable to apply those benefits to the animal population.
Originally I considered the human application for anti-inflammatory properties and transport media and felt there would be applications to management of horse wounds, especially lower leg wounds. Although anectodal, when used in combination with other drugs. I found accelerated wound healing and decreased tendency toward production of proud flesh. Depending on the type of wound, I often combined emu oil with DMSO or dexamethsasone, or gentamicin for use in the management of wounds.
On distal leg wounds where there is decreased muscle, therefore decreased circulation and increased tendency for production of proud flesh, I found that when emu oil was combined with dexamethasone and an antibiotic, usually gentocin, the animal was much less likely to develop proud flesh.
Management of non-suturable wounds with twice daily application of emu oil and bandage changes markedly reduced this same phenomenon. Epithialization of these wounds treated with emu oil preparation was faster and less scarring was noted. Likewise dehiscence of sutured wounds was less in emu oil treated equine patients.
Although I have not yet used emu oil in lame or arthritic horses, I am interested in combining the oil with NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to control stiffness and pain in those affected joints. Based on claims of anti-inflammatory actions and transport carrier claims it seems logical to apply these uses to this area of equine medicine.
I have combined preparations using emu oil in bovine medicine also. A freguent winter lesion seen in dairy cattle is frosted teat ends. The teat end freezes and skin around the teat sloughs. The emu oil has accelerated healing in these lesions and made it possible to continue milking in cow through the healing process. In this type of lesion emu oil is used alone for reasons of milk residues. This is an area where even bacteriostatic claims apply as well as those previously mentioned.
Similarly, in bovine practice ringworm lesions in calves is seen commonly. When the oil was combined with fulvacin, an anti-fungal medication, these lesions resolved and at a faster rate than when using other conventional techniques., i.e. bleach, iodine preparations, etc.
Even in small animal practice I have found application for emu oil in wound management. One important area in which I have found application is cast sore lesions. When the cast area is worn by a small animal the cast often gets wet or causes pressure on bony prominent areas. Dermatitis or cast sores develop. When the cast is removed there are wounds which have to be managed. Emu oil combinations have accelerated the healing process markedly.
These oil applications used in my mixed animal veterinary practice are anectodal. However, I frequently photograph lesions to determine the progress of healing, especially in wounds which will require long term care. I have slides (photos) for many emu oil treated patients. I have been satisfied with the efffects the oil provides and I will continue to use its preparations in my practice as well as to look for new applications of emu oil benefits.
Matthew S. Zimmer, DVM
2520 West U.S. Hwy. 20
Angola, In. 46703
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