Fish-Skin Grafts Can Be Used to Heal Wounds

Veterinarians are adopting this technique from human medicine

Fish-skin grafts, which are used in people for serious wounds such as burns, are making their way into the veterinarian’s office. Burns and degloving wounds (when the skin is peeled off a leg, for example) are notoriously difficult to get to heal, requiring months of intensive long-term care. But the skin from North Atlantic cod fish seems to speed up the healing process.

The fish-skin grafts are processed to retain important factors like omega 3 fatty acids, collagen, lipids, and glycosaminoglycans. The graft is put in place after some healing starts, placed on the granulation bed (the red tissue that represents healing).

A retrospective multi-facility study looked at 13 dogs and four cats with severe wounds. Multiple applications of the fish skin were required for all but three of the cats. All wounds healed, with most experiencing regrowth of hair.

Obviously, the use of fish-skin grafts will be limited to severe wounds and those that are unresponsive to normal wound management. However, if your pet has burns, degloving injuries, or other slow-to-heal wounds or injuries, fish-skin grafts might be just the thing to stimulate and speed up the healing process.