• horse;
  • donkey;
  • maggot;
  • biotherapy;
  • wound dehiscence;
  • debridement therapy


Reasons for performing study: Maggot debridement therapy is a long-established tool to promote wound healing.

Objectives: To describe and assess the results of this technique in equids with various lesions.

Methods: Retrospective analysis performed on cases in which, depending on clinical case, type, size and location of the wound, maggots were applied either in direct or indirect contact with the wound.

Results: Treated cases (n = 41) included horses with foot pathology (n = 9), laceration of the limbs (n = 15), other soft tissue abscesses or wounds (n = 6), fistulous withers (n = 5), other musculoskeletal infection (n = 2) and dehiscence of the linea alba (n = 4). In 5 cases, a second maggot application was necessary to reach the desired level of wound healing. In 38 cases a favourable outcome was reached in less than one week. In one individual with a sequestrum, healing was uneventful after its removal. In 2 other horses, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma were involved in chronic infected wounds and complete healing was not achieved because of recurrence of underlying tumours. Some discomfort was recorded in 7 individuals between 24 and 72 h of treatment.

Conclusions: Maggot debridement therapy can be recommended in equids for debridement and enhanced healing and its potent antibacterial action. Maggot debridement therapy is not recommended on wounds invaded with a tumour and if bone sequestration is suspected.

Potential relevance: Maggot debridement therapy can be an integral part of modern wound care in equids.