Treating wounds in small animals with maggot debridement therapy: a survey of practitioners

Vet J. 2007 Jan;173(1):138-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tvjl.2005.11.006. Epub 2005 Dec 28.


Many small animals succumb to complications of serious wounds. Sometimes infection and sepsis overwhelm the animal; sometimes the costs of intensive care overwhelm the owner. Maggot therapy, a method of wound debridement using live fly larvae, could provide effective, simple, low cost wound care. All eight US veterinarians who had been provided with medicinal maggots were surveyed to determine if this treatment was being used for small animals, and for what indications. At least two dogs, four cats and one rabbit were treated with maggot therapy between 1997 and 2003. The most common indications for using maggot therapy were to effect debridement and control infection, especially if the wound failed to respond to conventional medical and/or surgical therapy. Practitioners reported the treatments as safe and often beneficial. Amputation and euthanasia may have been avoided. It is concluded that maggot therapy may have utility for small animals, and should be evaluated further.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / therapy*
  • Cats
  • Data Collection
  • Debridement / methods
  • Debridement / veterinary*
  • Dog Diseases / therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Larva / physiology
  • Rabbits
  • Veterinarians
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Wound Healing / physiology