Veterinarians use Tilapia skin to treat bears burned in the Thomas Fire

Posted at 7:40 PM, Jan 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-24 22:41:02-05

RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. -- Two female adult bears burned during the Thomas Fire are back in the wild after being treated by UC Davis veterinarians, according to the university.

The bears and a mountain lion were brought to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Investigations Lab in Rancho Cordova in December.

Both bears had severe burns on their paws and the younger bear had third-degree burns on all four paws.

Doctors also found out that the older bear was pregnant, complicating treatment.

Veterinarians used sterilized Tilapia skins to treat the burns, a treatment typically used on humans. 

The bears also received acupuncture, chiropractic care, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, and cold laser therapy.

Both the bear’s habitats were destroyed by the fire, so CDFW used dirt and logs to create dens for the bears in the Los Padres National Forest.

Watch a video of the veterinarians applying the Tilapia skins below: