Pony horrifically scarred after acid attack undergoes FISH skin graft – and it could soon be used on humans

A HORSE that suffered horrendous burns and was badly disfigured after a suspected acid attack is making a remarkable recovery – as hero vets help her recovery by stitching fish scales to her face.

Cinders, an eight-month old pony was so badly injured in the attack that she could not open her eyes when rescuers found her abandoned in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

Kindhearted well-wishers raised £14,000 so Cinders could undergo the treatment, well over the initial £3,000 hoped for.

A dressing made from the skin of a Tilapia fish was used to treat the burns and regenerate fresh skin tissue during a three hour operation on May 1.

Cinders is now said to be doing “extremely well” after the surgery at the Rainbow Equine Hospital in Old Malton, North Yorks.

A US vet had to travel across the globe from California to Britain to perform the surgery after the RSPCA had attended to the foal on April 25.

Jamie Peyton, who flew over from the University of California in Davis, had developed the process of using fish-skin grafts to treat animals burnt in wildfires.

A team of vets worked on Cinders wounds and cleaned them before applying the fish skin dressing to her face Vet David Rendle worked with Ms Peyton, and Ryckie Wade, a plastic surgeon at the burns unit at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorks.

Mr Rendle from the equine hospital said fish skin was used because it is a good source of collagen and retains moisture well.

He said: "Animals that have been treated with fish skin dressings before seem to be far more comfortable after these dressings have been applied.

"We want to change Cinders' dressings as infrequently as possible to spare her the pain of doing so and these dressings are likely to last longer than anything else.

"Extraordinary injuries called for extraordinary treatments."

Mr Rendle said he was confident the pony would not be left with any long-term ill effects.

Adding: "She has a long road ahead but she seems untroubled by her ordeal."

Tilapia fish skin has also been used on a human, Maria Ines Candido da Silva, 36, after she was severely burnt when a gas canister exploded at the restaurant where she worked in Russas, north east Brazil, in December 2016.

It is believed to be one of the first times the treatment had been used on a human.

A team of doctors at the Dr José Frota Institute Burns Unit in Fortaleza, north east Brazil, developed the pioneering treatment.

The fish skin reduces the risk of infection – and it's cheaper to work with, experts say.



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The RSPCA says horses are regularly dumped and left to die by owners.

Hospital staff have now set up a JustGiving fundraising page for her treatment.

You can donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/rainbow-equine-hospital

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