The Jetstream Journal

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Fish Scales Used to Heal Burns on Bears

A bear with fish scales on burned paw. Photo labelled for reuse.

A bear with fish scales on burned paw. Photo labelled for reuse.

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Colorado continues to have a growing amount of wildlife, including bears. The Waldo Canyon forest fire in 2012 caused health-related complications with several animals. A newly risen clinical trial in California may help animals injured in future fires heal at a faster rate.

At the University of California Davis, new technology has advanced, and the burn director is testing a new way to heal burn scars using fish scales. This is being tested not only on humans, but also animals. Currently, this treatment is being used on California brown bears.

“Many times when we do skin grafts I worry about the rejection rates by using different organisms,” said anatomy teacher Elizabeth Schlichter.

Tonic discussed that pig skin is also used for burns, however, fish skin is cheaper and more widely available. Some vets would argue that this topic needs more research to be considered valid.

Environmental science and biology teacher Nathan Chisholm said, “Pigs are more closely related to humans than fish are.”

Compared to pigs, however, fish scales have collagen in them, which heals and stays moist. Tilapia skin also costs 75 cents less than a normal bandage. The skin is reusable and can be sterilized and refrigerated for up to 2 years after use.

“This way is cheaper and seems more effective. Also, Colorado has a problem with fires and this new breakthrough can help Colorado wildlife,” said sophomore Erick Lehmkuhl.

Weeks after being treated, the bears’ paws (treated at UC Davis) began to grow back the skin that was burned, and they both could stand on their own. Researchers at the university continue to look for ways to alter this clinical trial so that it will benefit humans.

Recently, humans have been treated throughout the United States and the tilapia skin from the fish is high in types one and three proteins. This prevents scarring in the human skin. Also, it is proven to relieve pain and in some cases, patients do not need medicine, saving valuable resources.

The next six months will be used to heal the bear paws and collect more research. After the six months the bears will be released back into the wild.

“This is an interesting topic. I was not knowledgeable about this and it brings to life our new medical advances,” said sophomore Hayle Davilla.

What once was fish farm waste is now used as a medical method for burned animals and people. More research continues to be developed and formed.

Without the discovery of the use of fish scales, collagen burns would be unbearable.

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About the Writer
Avery Lenocker, Journalist

It is my first year writing for the Jet Stream Journal and I am very excited for this new opportunity! I am also an Air Academy cheerleader. I am a sophomore and enjoy spending my time going to the pool. My favorite place is Laguna Beech, California, Surfs up!

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Fish Scales Used to Heal Burns on Bears