UVCC is excited to continue leading the NE Kansas veterinary services market in bringing the latest technological advancements to the Topeka area’s pet population. We have recently begun treatment of an incredibly difficult open wound case by combining two of the latest technological advances: The use of acellular fish skin combined with Platelet Rich Fibrin.
The use of fish skin was originally studied as a therapy for human burn victims, predominately by researchers in South America. The early results were often so impressive that it has become one of the hottest areas of research in wound healing. Variations on the premise are now considered state of the art for difficult cases like extensive burns, diabetic ulcers and decubital ulcers (bed sores common in geriatric and debilitated patients that are bedridden).
The product that we chose is marketed by a company from Iceland called Kerecis. It is a commercially available product that is FDA approved for use in people. It is actual skin from North Atlantic Cod treated to remove the scales, destroy all the fish cells, wash the remaining cellular debris and protein away and sterilized. What remains is predominantly collagen and is rich in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. The skin is incorporated into the wound bed and acts as a scaffold for the ingrowth of cells that will ultimately heal the wound. The fish skin becomes the deeper part of the new skin (dermis) and provides a normal layer for the surface layer (epidermis) to grow across.
The use of fish skin for dog wounds was pioneered by Dr. Jamie Peyton who heads the rehabilitation program at the University of California at Davis’ College of Veterinary Medicine. She has been featured in numerous articles, news segments and television shows for her work helping some of the animals injured in the recent California wildfires. It so happens that she is also an instructor, along with Dr. Gratton and Dr. Akers, at Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic. Conversations while teaching at Options for Animals planted the seed for this patient’s treatment plan.
As the leader in NE Kansas for small animal stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine, we are constantly monitoring progress in the field. A recent Kansas Veterinary Medical Association conference had a series of lectures on regenerative medicine where we engaged in discussions with Enso Discoveries. They are a biotech company based in Manhattan, Kansas and have developed several products in conjunction with Kansas State University. One of their more recent releases is Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF). It is similar to the more commonly used Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) which is typically injected into injured or inflamed tissues to improve the speed and quality of healing. PRF, on the other hand, is semi-solid and can be used on the surface of tissues, maintaining contact for a much longer time than a liquid would.
Concentrating platelets from the patients' blood in PRP or PRF releases many different growth factors and chemical messengers at much higher levels than normally found in the blood of untreated tissue. These chemicals modulate the local immune response, direct cells to migrate into the site of injury and stimulate stem cells and connective tissue cells to divide and grow. Like the fish skin, PRF also provides a scaffold for the migration of cells into the wound. Additionally, PRF contains concentrated white blood cells and concentrated platelets which have been shown to inhibit many drug-resistant bacterial strains including MRSA. This benefit is ideal for use in surface wounds where bacterial contamination is present. PRF has also been used successfully in the treatment of human diabetic ulcers.
Both fish skin and PRF have been clinically proven to dramatically increase the quality and speed of tissue regeneration in difficult to manage wounds in humans and animals. To our knowledge, the two techniques have not been used together before. We will be sharing more information and releasing updates on this very interesting case over the next few weeks. University Veterinary Care Center is very excited and proud to be able to offer this level of advanced care to the pets of Topeka and the surrounding region.