SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An injured bobcat is back in the wild Monday after local veterinarians took an unorthodox approach to treat his burns — fish skin.
Born from destruction, came an innovated approach to treating four-legged Camp Fire victims.
The bobcat suffered severe burns in the Camp Fire in November and was taken to Gold Country Wildlife Rescue. There, it was treated, and in conjunction with veterinarians all over the region, including some at UC Davis, was eventually able to be released into the wild 11 weeks later.
One big part of the bobcat’s recovery was for veterinarians to use tilapia skin as bandages.
Dr. Jamie Peyton works at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.
“So when you lose an area of skin, it’s very sensitive. It’s very painful and it’s exposed to bacteria and the rest of the environment. You lose fluid,” Peyton said.
Peyton is one of a handful of local veterinarians that helped treat the injured bobcat with their biological bandage of tilapia skin.
“So, it’s going to protect an open area that’s missing a piece of skin from a burn and provide protection,” Peyton said.
Experts say the fish skin is disease resistant, reduces infection, and acts like a plaster. Additionally, because fish is high in collagen, a protein that promotes healing, it stays moist longer than gauze.
For this bobcat, who suffered fifth-degree burns to his paws, it was the perfect medicine.
When the burn heals the fish skin simply falls off, or in the case of this mighty mammal, provides a high-tech snack. And with a team of proud vets and photographers standing by, this bobcat is roaring back to some familiar land, stronger than ever.
In addition to the fish skin, the bobcat’s burns were also treated with electromagnetic therapy, along with a cold laser and acupuncture.
Dr. Peyton and her team at UC Davis also treated four cats and four dogs burned in the Camp Fire using this same method of treatment.