Title:Potential utilization of blood leeches in modern veterinary medicine, a critical review
Hilscher, Julia Joanna
Blood leeches are natural medical products. They are used since several thousand years for treatment of very different clinical diseases. Over the years effects observed in the field determined through experience can be explained by those components that researchers were able to isolate. At the same time, there are reported effects of leech treatment that have not been confirmed by field studies so far. This thesis focuses on the analyses of the current situation of medical research and medical treatment in the field utilizing leeches. As a basis a general overview of biology of leeches is provided and legislative aspects of leeches as a medical product are defined. The main focus of this thesis is on the pharmacologic aspects of leech therapy. The most important substances that have been identified in leech saliva and their indications in human and veterinary medicine are reviewed. Furthermore, potential areas of utilizing leeches in veterinary medicine are reviewed and evaluated, with a focus on treating tendon injuries in horses.