Fish skin being used to treat mountain lion burned in Thomas Fir - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Fish skin being used to treat mountain lion burned in Thomas Fire

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Wildlife veterinarians are using an unusual technique to treat a young mountain lion found with burn injuries during the Thomas Fire.

The male mountain lion is estimated to be about 5-months-old and was reportedly found December 22 with burn injuries to all pads of his feet.

According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the kitten appeared thin and was taken to a wildlife investigations lab in Rancho Cordova.

There, some of his treatment includes a technique officials say is used successfully on human burn patients in Brazil, which involves applying sterilized tilapia skin to the animal's most severe injuries.

Fish and Wildlife says the fish skin acts as a "biologic bandage," providing collagen to help the paws heal quicker while also protecting the burns.

Officials say the mountain lion is responding well to the treatment and is expected to make a full recovery. 

Due to his age and the fact that he has been separated from his mother and his habitat damaged, while still requiring medical care, fish and wildlife says the mountain lion will likely be placed in captivity and not released back into the wild. 

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