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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Barbie Thrives 10 Years Later

Monday, May 11 2015

Nearly 10 Years Later Horse Treated at OSU with Maggot Therapy Thrives

Nearly 10 years ago, equine veterinarians at Oklahoma State University’s Veterinary Medical Hospital treated Barbie, daughter of a three-time world champion roping horse, for a snake bite and consequential medical problems using an unconventional method.  OSU veterinarians used maggot therapy to treat Barbie’s hard-to-heal wounds.

OSU’s Dr. Lyndi Gilliam, equine internal medicine, has been researching the cardiac toxicity of rattlesnake venom in horses. According to her, it’s not only the venom horse owners have to worry about but the resulting tissue necrosis and sloughing and the risk of cardiac disease.

Recently Barbie’s owner passed along some photos of the horse today, saying ‘Barbie is big, strong and very healthy.’  

“Barbie is one of those memorable cases,” said Todd Holbrook, DVM, DACVIM, DACVSMR, equine section chief at OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital. “She was critically ill when she arrived and presented many challenges to her veterinary medical team. Barbie’s recheck visit six weeks after her discharge and now these photos show a very healthy horse. We’re always glad when we can help restore the health of our patients. It’s owners, like Jane Kaser, who are willing to try something new that make our jobs so rewarding.”

Warning: Some of the photos of Barbie during her treatment are graphic.

Barbie with a swollen neck and face before maggot therapy treatment.

Barbie’s neck after the first maggot therapy treatment.

After three maggot therapy treatments Barbie is discharged. Her owners continued to treat her wounds at home.

Barbie one year after discharge.

Barbie today – May 2015.

Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 |