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Evidence of bacterial biofilms in acute and chronic wounds in horses

S. J. Westgate, S. L. Percival, D. C. Knottenbelt, P. D. Clegg, C. A. Cochrane

EVIDENCE suggests that the healing of chronic wounds in people may be inhibited by the presence of polymicrobial biofilms, which show an increased resistance to antimicrobials and the immune response of the host. In horses, the microbiology of chronic wounds has not been studied in great detail. This study examined equine wounds for the presence of biofilms.

Forty-one horses presented at an equine hospital with wounds resulting from trauma and 10 horses with healing surgical wounds were included in the study. The 51 cases were classified as acute (33 horses, including all with surgical wounds) or chronic (18 horses). Debrided tissue samples of 8 mm diameter were obtained, stained histologically and examined for evidence of biofilms. Swab samples were taken from both the site of the wound and from a control skin site, which was located on the opposite side of the horse at the same anatomical location as the wound. Samples were cultured aerobically and anaerobically, and the biofilm forming potential of isolated bacteria was determined using a standard crystal violet microtitre …

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