A pony horrifically disfigured in a suspected acid attack has had a ‘world first’ pioneering op to heal its burnt face – using FISH skin.
Cinders, an eight month-old pony, underwent the skin graft surgery following donations topping £14,000 were given to her adopted owners.
The foal had been dumped in Chesterfield, Derbys, before being taken to the Rainbow Equine Hospital in North Yorkshire.
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
The operation took place on Tuesday (May 1) when a dressing made from the skin of a Tilapia fish was applied to Cinders’ face to aid the growth of fresh tissue.
A team of vets worked on Cinders wounds, cleaning them before applying a fish skin dressing to her face
Vet David Rendle worked with Mr 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.”
Cinders has been receiving round the clock care since being found with severe burns running from her eyes to the tip of her nose
Her cause has been helped after more than £14,000 was raised on a Justgiving page for the pony – smashing the original target of £3,000.
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.”