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Burns victim – treated with Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

On 27th October 2009 we first met Fletcher who had been in a house fire in Christchurch. Fletcher is the reason that his family survived the fire, so he is a pretty special patient and a bit of a character! Fletcher was in the garage (see below) and raised the alarm by barking constantly until he had woken everyone up!

Roger Bay, one of our principal vets, saw Fletcher on a house call and at that stage he had severe burns to pads on all four feet, large burned areas on his abdomen with more becoming apparent as the skin and hair lifted.

Fletcher was being treated with antibiotics, pain relief and Mebo Burn Repair ointment, it was also recommended that he have several treatments in the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to increase the availability of the oxygen to the damaged tissues. Also important with burns is the ability of the pressurised oxygen to assist in killing bacteria along with the antibiotics.

On 3rd of November Fletcher came in to have his wounds re-examined and to have his first HBOT treatment. We gave Fletcher a mild sedation and cleaned his wounds, we then gave him his first one and a half hour treatment in the chamber. He coped with this very well considering his past experiences. Because the weather was so warm we put icepacks under towels on the bottom of the cage to help keep Fletcher more comfortable as the temperature will increase as the cage becomes more pressurised.

Fletcher came through his first and second treatments so well that on the third we decided to try him without any sedation – Fletcher hopped up the ramp into the chamber cage and made himself quite comfortable laying down, where he remained for both his third and fourth treatments.

The changes after each HBOT treatment were quite remarkable with the wounds increasing in redness, but decreasing in size with new granulation at the edges – increasing substantially each time he came back to see us. Fletcher’s demeanour immediately post-treatment was almost puppy-like and he had a voracious appetite.

Fletcher, even though mildly sedated, was in no hurry to get out of the chamber, and didn’t seem too bothered by the whole experience.

A side effect of HBOT is a great appetite – this seems to include cats.

The wounds starting to shrink with wider healing margins.

After each treatment the odour in the chamber and surrounding Fletcher was a very strong burnt hair and plastic smell which according to his owners, took 24 hours to dissipate.

4 months after his first visit, note the huge reduction in the size of the wounds.