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A dog’s severe burns are treated with fish skins and the result is extraordinary

Dr Oakley with Archer the dog with burns dog-wow
© Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet & Cody Fisher-hotch - Facebook

In January of this year a young Alaskan dog narrowly escaped death by leaping from a house fire. Severely burned, his treatment came in an unlikely form.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 16/11/2019, 11:00, Updated on the 19/12/2019, 15:22

Archer is lucky to be alive. When his home caught fire the dog escaped only just, and with extensive burns to his face and body. After some cat and mouse chasing firefighters at the scene caught Archer, doused him with water and brought him to the care of a local vet in Haines.

Archer’s injuries were so extensive however that he needed specialist treatment. Cue: the star of National Geographic’s WILD Show Dr. Michelle Oakley, Yukon Vet.

Dr Oakley began to treat Archer at her own practice. Speaking to The People, she said, “We started with bandage changes and set up a burn unit in my office in town, since we needed a sterile environment where you can keep everything clean.

Discovering the extent of Archer’s burns, Dr Oakley contacted a burns specialist at the University of California for advice. The treatment she was told about was innovative, to say the least.

Innovative treatment

Dr Oakley was told of a recent development in the treatment of human burns with the skin of a tilapia fish. The skins were placed over the burns to promote healing.

Wasting no time, Oakley began to administer the dog’s skin with fish skins. Archer’s new look earned him the nickname “The Dragonslayer”.


OK guys, TONIGHT'S episode on @natgeowild at 9e/8c is one of my most challenging and special cases ever. You will NOT...

Posted by Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet on Saturday, November 9, 2019

The relief was instant,” Dr. Oakley told The People. Archer’s skin has begun to heal.

With some financial assistance from the Haines community, other procedures the dog needed were soon carried out in conjunction with the fish skin treatment.

Writes The People, Archer now has, “A quarter-sized bald spot left over from the burns on his face.”

The dog fighting spirit was cited by Oakley as part of his aid to recovery. Archer’s lust for life surely helped.