Can fish skin heal burns? A dog living in Alaska called Archer was severely burned in January when his home caught fire. When the firefighters arrived, they found him flamed. Archer has escaped after that as he was too afraid of the fire left many people in concern about him.
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Dog heals from fire
Credit: Courtesy Dr. Michelle Oakley

Fortunately, Archer was existed near the ocean not long after the fire and was immediately taken to the vet. Since Archer lives in Haines, Alaska, things are pretty remote and emergency vet services aren’t that much. Usually, these kinds of circumstances call for Dr. Michelle Oakley – star of the Nat Geo WILD show “Dr. Oakley” – who has experience rescuing all animals and can provide help.

Moreover, since Dr. Oakley was on her way from California at the same time as the accident, Archer had to bear a car ride for 7 hours. While it was severe weather, to the nearest veterinary as he needs to treat his severe injuries. After Archer was in a more balanced status he was able to go home and begin the long recovery journey with Dr. Oakley.

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“We started with bandage changes and set up burn unit in my office in town since we needed a sterile environment where you can keep everything clean,” Dr. Oakley described to PEOPLE the special operation she set up in order to treat Archer.fish skin

Nevertheless, it was clear that Archer needs more help than she can provide. So, she asked for advice on a burn specialist from The University of California, Davis. The specialist recommended a while new treatment that enquires using the skins from tilapia fish and placing them on the burns in order to increase the healing process. The specialist even visited Archer and showed Dr. Oakley how the treatment works.

Archer was all covered in fish skin, that gave him a crusty look that earned him the nickname, “Archer the Dragonslayer.”

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Credit: Bill McRoberts
“The relief was instant,” Dr. Oakley commented on how the fish skins helped Archer. The poor dog had burns all over his body, but the wounds were especially nasty on his face.

The community crowded around Archer as well. While Dr. Oakley gave her care free of charge, Haines residents came together to help cover any additional medical costs for Archer, such as a few operations, laser therapy, countless bandage changes and more.

And by the time full of love, care, and fish skin, Archer turned from a scared burn victim with painfully pink skin and no fur, to a fully healed and happy dog who only has a quarter-sized bald spot from the burns to his face.


Credit: Bill McRoberts

Although Dr. Oakley had a major role in his recovery, she still gives Archer most of the honor due to a warm, battling spirit. Despite he was in a lot of pain, he never showed up to his so many vet visits without a tail wag.

Somehow, Archer’s journey has been motivating to others who need healing as well. Dr. Oakley now knows a lot more about treating burns after Archer’s distress. Also, she now can give these experiences to other animals injured in fires.

“This one patient is going to help me help so many animals,” she stated.

Dr. Oakley sees the months-long effort to support Archer and help him heal as a complete career highlight. In addition, one of the most pleasing cases she’s taken on.

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