Medicinal… Maggots?


In companion animals, severe wounds often result in severe consequences: amputation, infection, sometimes even death. As unbelievable as it sounds, an unexpected savior has emerged.

Medical-grade maggots.

In 2004, the FDA classified sterilized maggots as a medical device – in other words, you can purchase a prescription for fly larvae. Recently maggots have been used to clean human wounds, but veterinary medicine only recently has begun exploring the usage of these little wrigglers.

According to Monarch Labs, a supplier of medicinal maggots, these worm-like insects work wonders on hard-to-heal wounds. The maggots clean infected and dead tissue in a process called “debridement.” They also kill the bacteria while stimulating new tissue growth. Maggots eat dead flesh but avoid live flesh and were used medically in the Middle Ages – but since they weren’t sterilized back then, the results were mixed.

The process involves a veterinarian applying the medicinal maggots to your pet’s wound along with a special dressing that prevents the maggots from squirming away.

According to Monarch, “World-wide, approximately 50,000 treatments were applied to wounds in 2008.” That statistic applies to people, though – veterinarians seem hesitant to adopt the treatment. It might seem creepy at first, but it might also be a safer alternative to antibiotics that have incredibly harsh side effects.

If your dog or cat had a severe wound, would you consider medicinal maggots as a treatment?

Image: aslakr