NorthStar Update: equine skin grafts.






Do you remember NorthStar?  He is the 6 year-old horse that his owners have had since his birth – a very trusting horse – who was doused with some sort of chemical and set on fire.
I know… hard to believe but it is true.  Some wingnut(s) lured him over, threw something on him and lit a match.

This is Northstar, in his stall at the hospital.

There are no words, really…  (You can read my original post on him here.)
Anyway, today I decided to check up on him… It is easy to follow his progress.  Just go to his website.
I’ve compiled some photos from his update page.  There are very graphic details on the website which outline his recovery and the skin graft process, but I’ve only added a few here.

Northstar Updates

10/29/12 – Jessie said about 80% of the last skin grafts took!!! YOOOHOOO!!! Tomorrow, Northstar will receive about 80 or 90 more plug type grafts.

 

The skin grafts are working!

10/25/12 – “Northstar is healing well. Last week we began the long process of skin grafts and cell-based therapy. True to form, Northstar did really well for both procedures. We harvested skin from his chest in small 8mm diameter grafts and embedded them into two areas on his left and right neck. Time will tell how well these grafts take, but, preliminary assessment looks good where most of them have stayed
in place.

CU view of the skin graft attachment and process. Poor guy.

His attitude has improved and we have started him on some medications that help with nerve pain as there is a degree of increased sensitivity over the healing tissues as the nerves regenerate. This week, Northstar will have a quiet and restful time where routine bandage changes and cleaning will be the focus as well as lots of treats, cuddles and attention.

He is doing so well that we are having to cut back on the treats a little as he is putting on weight; a little too much :)

Young Northstar

 

Jessie and Bob both visited and spent time during the cleaning yesterday and were impressed at the progress he is making. The next round of skin grafts will likely occur next week and continue every other week or so until we have reached our limits of available donor tissue or we are happy that he has adequate coverage.

Again, we are so thankful to all the support the world over for the well wishes, compassion and following of this case. Northstar is a fighter and continues to enamor those who hear about him and his plight.”

Sam Hurcombe

BSc BVMS MS DACVIM DACVECC

10/20/12: Jessie called and had talked to Northstar’s vet today. She said they put about 70 “plug” type grafts and that Northstar tolerated the procedure well. Because the nerve endings are growing, Northstar has increased feeling and is more likely to want to roll now. He is doing very well, even gaining weight! He is acting much more like a six year old horse with each passing day!

Northstar and his loving owner – comforting him.

 NEWS ARTICLE FROM DVM MAGAZINE

Horse set on fire in August is healing well at Ohio State
Preliminary assessments look good for first skin grafts.

Oct 25, 2012
By: Julie Scheidegger
DVM NEWSMAGAZINE

Northstar, a 6-year-old American paint horse that was badly burned in August in Crawford County, Pa., is healing well, says Dr. Samuel Hurcombe, DVM, BSc, BVMS, MS, DACVIM, ACVECC, assistant professor of equine emergency and critical care at the Galbreath Equine Center at The Ohio State University. It is believed that the horse was deliberately doused in an unknown accelerant and set on fire, sustaining first-, second- and third-degree burns to approximately 40 percent of his body.

Shortly after Northstar arrived at OSU, Hurcombe said Northstar’s burns would take at least a month of healing before infection was under control and graft surgery could even be considered. Despite the severity of the horse’s injuries, Hurcombe was cautiously optimistic about how Northstar was progressing. “Northstar is bright and interactive with people and his pain is manageable, but he has a long way to go to recovery,” he says.

Hurcombe reports that last week the horse began the long process of skin grafts and cell-based therapy. “True to form, Northstar did really well for both procedures,” Hurcombe said in an e-mail to DVM Newsmagazine. “We harvested skin from his chest in small 8-mm-diameter grafts and embedded them into two areas on his left and right neck.”

He says time will tell on how well the grafts take, but preliminary assessments look good. Pain management will be a priority as Northstar experiences increased sensitivity over the healing tissues as the nerves regenerate. “This week, Northstar will have a quiet and restful time where routine bandage changes and cleaning will be the focus as well as lots of treats, cuddles and attention,” Hurcombe says.

Northstar is getting so much attention and love from those caring for him that Hurcombe is cutting back on the treats–the horse is putting on a little too much weight. The staff at Galbreath Equine Center is encouraged that the horse’s attitude seems to be improving as they continue his long healing process.

“The next round of skin grafts will likely occur next week and continue every other week or so until we have reached our limits of available donor tissue or we are happy that he has adequate coverage,” Hurcombe says.

REMEMBER, you can keep up with his progress via his website.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!

 

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4 comments have been posted...

  1. Carole Vick

    No doubt this sweet horse has suffered; but he has handled it well and shown that he indeed has a very strong will to live and get better!!! This horse is looking forward and this shows continued treatment is indicated.

  2. Pooh

    Put him down!!??? Are you insane…….or, well ok,………let’s just say your child is in a bad accident, disfigured and in a HUGE amount of pain……..you gonna just ‘put them down’ ……….end their life , just to have them not go thru the pain……..NO!!! I didn’t think so…………when there are options to ease a living creatures pain and suffering, then let it be……..God Bless the ones that have cared and are caring for this sweet one and praying very much for some humongous karma to , in time, come upon the person or persons that did this to this beautiful living being…….:))

  3. Rebecca Blubaugh

    @peg – why is it when something horrific happens most folks immediately say to put the animal down? Pain can be controlled and if the chances of the animals’ recovery are good and there are people who love this animal and are willing to go through the expense of trying to save him, why not?

    Northstar has a desire to live, he isn’t giving up, so why should the people around him, his owners, the people who have loved him since he was born. This young horse fought to stay alive, he deserves to live. and like I said pain can be controlled. I am sure if all the Veterinarians working on/with him ever feel the procedures are getting to be too much for the horse they will do what would need to be done. What is learned treating Northstar for his serious burns can be used to help treat other animal who are tortured in this manner. These are not simply poor,dumb animals. They are sentient beings worthy of all the expert care available.

  4. peg

    I’m sorry,but I would have put this one down. The pain is unbelievable,no animal should have to go thro it.
    However – I hope Karma comes thro for whoever did this.
    I’ll bet they put it on Facebook somewhere,bragging

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