Fish-skin bandage helps King the cat mend from fire injuries

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- King the cat is on the road to recovery with the help of a fish.

Veterinarians at the Nebraska Humane Society use a fish skin bandage to help with the recovery of a cat burned in a house fire. (NHS Photo)

King was rescued from a metro house fire on Dec. 21 but had suffered burns over 50 percent of his body.

The fire in which King was injured happened at 30th and Titus. Firefighters arrived to heavy smoke and flames in the kitchen.

The family lost a dog and thought their cat, King, was gone, too. It turned out that King survived but needed help that has now come in the form of a procedure never done before at the Nebraska Humane Society.

Nebraska NHS veterinarians faced the challenge of staving off infection, handling pain management, and playing a waiting game in orchestrating recovery.

They tapped a technique used by vets at UC Davis in which fish skins are used to create an organic bandage. The California veterinarians have had success with this in treating animals burned in wildfires.

The Humane Society says the fish skins provide wound protection, pain relief and they offer collagen protein that promotes healing.

The vets ordered the Tilapia.

Dr. Katie James said, "We called around to so many places but the Tilapia didn't have skin and we need that. Finally we found one at an Asian market and let it thaw here and then we filleted it and removed the skin."

King got a disinfected Tilapia skin cloak that was sutured into place on Sunday.

Along with Dr. James, Dr. Amber Horn, and Dr. Michelle Rutz also joined in the surgery.

King has a long road to recovery, but the Humane Society team is hopeful about his chances. King will be under medical care for at least another six weeks.

The family, whose home is still too damaged to live in, is encouraged their cat now has a lot more people rooting for him.


Burned in a house fire, King the cat has a long road to recovery, but the Humane Society team is hopeful about his chances. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska Humane Society)
Fish skin bandage
After King the cat was burned in a house fire, Nebraska Humane Society veterinarians sutured Tilapia skin onto the back, tail stump, and legs of to provide protection and pain relief. The "organic bandage" also provides collagen while promoting healing, according to the NHS Facebook post, and will remain in place about 10 days while King continues his recovery. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska Humane Society)
Fish skin bandage
Veterinarians at the Nebraska Humane Society use a fish skin bandage, a technique used by vets at UC Davis that has been successful in treating animals burned in wildfires, to help with the recovery of a cat burned in a house fire. (Photo courtesy of Nebraska Humane Society)