The information presented here on topical wound agents is intended to stimulate thinking about additional ways to manage equine
wounds. The development of newer, stronger antibiotics won't happen at anywhere near the pace required to keep ahead of microbial
species' evolution, and more cases of antibiotic resistance are predicted for coming decades.
"The future threat of ineffectual control of wound infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens is sufficient
reason to consider modifying our present reliance on antibiotics," says Cooper.
The intelligent use of existing antiseptic and antimicrobial agents seems warranted, as does continued research into the yet-unknown
benefits of many of these compounds. Researchers are just beginning to look at the action of some of these agents against
biofilm bacteria encased in slime layers that make them even more antibiotic-resistant.
"Already, some in vitro tests on biofilm with iodine show inhibition, and hydrogen peroxide (and hence peroxide-generating
honeys) also offers potential," says Cooper.
Antimicrobials isolated from amphibian skin, bacteriophage therapy (i.e., viruses that specifically target pathogenic bacteria)
and other therapies are being investigated.
While some of the research is new, many of these agents have been available for centuries and used, in some form or another,
by past civilizations and ancient healers. The current challenge is to take these older agents and use modern technology to
optimize and intensify their potential in our veterinary patients.
Dr. Marcella is an equine practitioner in Canton, Ga.