Burned Badly and Revolutionary Treatment

July 7th, 2014

Beatrice, a five-year-old black Chihuahua mix, was stolen from her own backyard in March. She was discovered 11 days later at Potawatomi Bingo Casino, but was sadly burned over 90 percent of her body.

She was taken to Froedtert Hospital, where doctors John Weigelt and Marla Lichtenberger, completed a revolutionary procedure in which pigskin was gently applied in small thin strips to Beatrice’s second and third-degree burns. This treatment will hopefully aid Beatrice in healing, since traditional methods alone were not working well. The delicate tissue that forms over a wound during the healing process, called granulation tissue, was coming in, but it needed to be covered so the healthy and normal skin could grow strong enough underneath to replace the damaged skin. Beatrice’s body would eventually reject the pigskin, but the doctors’ hope was that it would “take” for long enough to allow for Beatrice’s own tissue to become more durable.

The doctors understand that this was a progressive treatment and they had never before attempted it on a dog. The two weeks after the surgery were critical, and tense, but they have been seeing gradual progress and are convinced that the pigskin graft is a worthwhile course of action. 

Although the procedure was considered a success, Beatrice is still not 100 percent healed. She will need continued wound care and additional skin grafts to heal completely, Dr. Weigelt said in a statement. Animal Fairy Charities is raising money to help with Beatrice's medical bills. Those interested in donating to help Beatrice further can visit the Animal Fairy Charities website.