The evaluation of the effect of probiotics on the healing of equine distal limb wounds

J.M. Wilmink, Søren Ladefoged, Angelique Jongbloets, J.C.M. Vernooij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The effect of dressings saturated with either a standardized suspension of probiotic bacteria or saline on healing of traumatic distal limb wounds in horses was evaluated for 24 days, and the systemic inflammatory effect was assessed. The wounds were divided in two groups based on the phase of healing: wounds with an incomplete (ICGB) or a complete granulation bed (CGB). The wound area was expressed as percentage of the wound area at day 0 and defined as relative wound area. The mean relative wound area decreased faster in probiotic than saline treated wounds. The difference was most obvious in CGB and increased rapidly from day 0 until day 12 up to 30%, and stabilized around 25% thereafter until the end of the observation period, but it was not statistically significant because of the large variation within the treatment groups. The mean wound area of CGB decreased to 28.4% (range: 6.3 to 49.3) with probiotic and to 51.9% (range: 29.3 to 81.7) with saline treatment at day 24. Additionally, the rate to 50% healing in CGB was 3.4 faster with probiotic compared to saline treatment, whereas in ICGB this was 1.9 faster. Topical probiotics did not increase serum amyloid A and white blood cell counts. Although the mentioned differences were not statistically significant, the clinical relevance of the effect of treatment with probiotics in CGB wounds is clear, supported by the differences in mean wound area in course of time and the time required to reach 50% healing (day 12 for probiotic vs more than day 24 for saline treated wounds). Thus the probiotic treated wounds reached 50% reduction in wound area in half of the time of the saline treated wounds. The topical use of probiotics can be considered as safe as it did not cause a systemic effect.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0236761
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2020


  • probiotics
  • horses
  • wound healing
  • inflammation
  • equines
  • Lactobacillus
  • bacterial biofilms
  • blood counts


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