A horse named Barbie who suffered multiple snake bites on her head and neck is recovering well in the USA after receiving a very unconventional treatment....... Maggots!
Barbie, a 16 month old filly was found in her paddock by her owners,
barely alive and foaming at the mouth.
The filly was taken to Oklahoma State University's Centre for
Veterinary Health Sciences where she spent five weeks where she
underwent a number of treatments in her battle for life.
The snake bites believed to have come
from a pigmy rattlesnake, a copperhead or a water moccasin.
The attending veterinarians suspected a pigmy rattlesnake.
Rattlesnake venom causes extensive tissue necrosis
(dead) and sloughing.
Maggots were used to clean the dead and dying skin around the wounds.
This technique, although unusual, is becoming an acceptable way of treating dead and dying tissue. The treatments has
been used on humans in the UK.
The maggots used for medical treatments are not your
'normal' maggot. They are treated and
sterilised before use. Medicinal maggots have three actions:
1) they clean wounds by dissolving the necrotic (dead), infected tissue;
2) they disinfect the wound by killing bacteria; and 3) they stimulate
It is amazing that Barbie survived the snake bites. Credit goes to the
veterinaries. And for treating the after effects of the bites, well credit goes to the maggots!