Emu Oil Use in Veterinary Medicine

Antedoctal evidence given by a veterinarian treating small & large animals

by Matthew Zimmer DVM, 2520 West U.S. Hwy 20 Angola, IN 46703

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On distal leg wounds where there is decreased muscle, therefore decreased circulation and increased tendency toward 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 suture 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 NSAIDs 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 frequent winter lesion seen in dairy cattle is frosted teat ends. The teat end freezes and skin around the teat sloughs. The emu oil had accelerated 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, and 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 frequently 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 using in my mixed animal veterinary practice are anecdotal. However, I frequently photograph lesions to determine 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 effects of the oil for many emu oil and will continue to use its preparations in my practice as well as to look for new applications of emu oil benefits.