Okla. Veterinarians Use Maggots to Clear Flesh From Rattlesnake Wound

Veterinarians at Oklahoma State University Veterinary Hospital successfully used maggots to clear away dead flesh from a horse that had been bitten by a rattlesnake.

"I'd heard of it being used on people," said admitting veterinarian Peggy Brosnahan, who had never tried maggot therapy. "When you have a critical case like this, it's beneficial to be open-minded."

The 16-month-old filly was bitten on the head by a rattlesnake, causing its neck to swell to five times its normal size.

After a few days at the veterinary hospital, the swelling subsided, but an area of flesh the size of a dinner plate began sloughing off the wound, which had deepened to near the bone.

The horse's owner, Janie Kaser, suggested maggot therapy. A California company shipped 4,500 maggots overnight, which doctors applied to the wound. The maggots clear away dead flesh without harming underlying tissue.

The horse went home Wednesday. Veterinarians expect the animal to recover.

About the Author

The Associated Press


Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners