California Veterinarians Hope Tilapia Bandages Will Help Badly Burned Bear Cub

   08.10.18

These black bear cubs suffered major burns in the wildfires ripping through Northern California, and are receiving a “fishy treatment” to help heal their wounds.

We first heard of this treatment when a young mountain lion suffered similar burns to all four of its paw pads. The method consists of using sterilized tilapia skin as bandages, and stitching them to the healthy tissue around the burns.

According to ABC News, tilapia skin contains two types of collagen that promote faster healing.

“Generally speaking, an animal that has survived a fire and is walking around on its own should be left alone, but that wasn’t the case here,” said Jeff Stoddard, environmental program manager of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “In addition to her inability to stand or walk, there were active fires burning nearby, and with the burn area exceeding 125 square miles and growing, we weren’t sure there was any suitable habitat nearby to take her to.”

Dr. Jamie Peyton from the University of California, Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, was part of the medical team assessing the bears’ injuries. She confirmed the cubs were dealing with third-degree burns on their paws and feet.

“I do think that we’ll be able to get her through this and to keep her comfortable,” Peyton told ABC News. “She definitely is feisty.”

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