Innovative Treatment Could Help Solve Global Public Health Crisis
By Amy Quinton on September 17, 2018 in Human & Animal Health
***WARNING: contains graphic burn images***
JAMIE PEYTON SNAPPED AN INSTAGRAM PHOTO of herself while aboard an airplane headed to England in May. In her hand, she held a tiny, stuffed horse wearing a University of California, Davis, T-shirt.
It was the perfect photo for the mission. The UC Davis veterinarian had been called to save a real horse. An 18-month-old gypsy cob pony had been found abandoned and starving in a field in Yorkshire. That wasn’t the worst of it.
Her face was horrifically scarred with oozing wounds from extensive third-degree chemical burns. The injuries left her unable to open her eyes.
“It appears to have been a malicious attack,” Peyton said. “It’s as though someone had poured acid on the top of her head and it dripped down her face to her mouth.”
A good Samaritan had brought the pony to local veterinarians who had heard about Peyton’s successful use of tilapia fish skins to heal a mountain lion and two black bears burned during the California wildfires last fall. Veterinarians in Yorkshire thought the novel treatment might work on the pony.
Within a few days, Peyton was on a plane to help. She carried with her a cooler full of sterilized tilapia skins that would eventually act as a healing biological bandage for the pony.
Little fish face
The torture and neglect that the pony had suffered was just horrid. She was skinny, lice-infested, had overgrown hooves, bad teeth, and a bleeding face. The overgrown hooves prompted vet technicians to name her Cinderella or “Cinders” for short, as she would soon get new shoes and become more like a princess.
“She didn’t want anyone touching her face,” Peyton said.
She and the Yorkshire team went to work cleaning the burns, removing dead tissue and applying ointments to ease the pain. Treatments such as cold laser therapy and pulsed electromagnetic field therapy were also applied.