Tags: burned bears | fish skin

Burned Bears: Fish Skin Wraps Healed Burns Faster After Wildfire

This footage shows the burned bears receiving the fish skin wrap treatment on their burns and being released back into wild. (Video via The Washington Post)

By    |   Friday, 26 January 2018 05:32 PM

Two bears badly burned in the Southern California wildfires in early December were treated by wrapping the burned areas with fish skin, resulting in fast healing of the burns.

The bears were found with burned paws that would have taken six months to heal without treatment, according to veterinarian Jamie Peyton at the University of California at Davis, The Washington Post reported. Skin on the paws had suffered third-degree burns, and the bears could hardly stand on them because of the pain. A 5-month-old cougar was also found with burned paws.

Peyton thought about treating the burns with fish skin, which contains collagen to heal and rebuild damaged skin, after hearing about a medical trial that had not yet been tried in the United States, The Washington Post reported. The treatment was advantageous for the bears and cougar because the burns needed to be kept covered, but the staff didn’t want to keep them sedated all the time.

The skins were also advantageous because they could be eaten without causing digestive problems like synthetic bandages might, the Post reported. Peyton said that the skins helped the animals’ paws heal in a few weeks rather than 6 months, which was a good thing because one of the bears was pregnant.

Veterinary staff did not want the expectant bear’s cub to be born in captivity because of the risk that the mother would reject it, The Washington Post reported.

The bears were released back into the wild Jan. 17 with one last set of skins wrapped around their paws, and with the burns 90 percent healed, National Geographic reported. The cougar cub is not old enough to be released and is currently at a wildlife rescue center but is similarly healed.

Because of human tissue donated for grafts used with burn victims, it is unlikely that fish skin will be used to heal human burns in the future, National Geographic reported.

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Two bears and one cougar cub burned badly in the Southern California wildfires in early December were treated by wrapping the burned areas with fish skin, resulting in faster healing of the burns.
burned bears, fish skin
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2018-32-26
Friday, 26 January 2018 05:32 PM
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