Grant: 08-024C
Project Title: Request for Blood Analysis Equipment - Microscopic Equipment - X-ray Scanner
Project Manager: Richie Moretti
Organization: Hidden Harbor Marine Environmental Project (The Turtle Hospital) (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $9,520.00
Completion Date: 2008-06-25

Summary: Every year, The Turtle Hospital admits between 50 and 70 sick and injured sea turtles. Many of these turtles are found floating but with no visible signs of injury. The most reliable method for determining an animal's health is by analyzing their blood profile. This enables The Turtle Hospital to prescribe the best mode of treatment. The Turtle Hospital has the capability to perform all in-house diagnostics. To accomplish this, proper equipment must be utilized. Idexx VetTest and VetLyte machines allow staff to assess the condition of the animal. These machines require expensive maintenance protocols and test slides for each assessment. In addition, The Turtle Hospital performs a white blood cell count to determine if the turtle is fighting infection. An initial WBC count can be accomplished with a Neubauer Hemacytomter, while a microscope count provides a detailed evaluation of each type of cell present. Equipment upgrades such as a microscope camera, x-ray scanner/converter, and a computer system to broadcast and store this information would enable The Turtle Hospital to provide the highest level of care and share this information with other people.

Results: The Turtle Hospital prides itself on providing the best possible veterinary care for sick and injured sea turtles throughout the Florida Keys. The funds received in grant contract 08-024C have contributed to the hospital's success in upholding our commitment to excellence of care and utilization of advancing technologies. All items approved by grant number 08-024C were ordered and received, including blood analysis supplies, microscopic camera, X-ray scanner, and computer and monitor for the operation of the microscopic and X-ray equipment. Idexx VetTest and VetLyte blood analysis supplies are used to evaluate current sea turtle patient blood samples. The test results are used in determining each patient's plan of care and, ultimately, the release date for their return to the wild. The microscopic camera is particularly. useful in determining accurate white blood cell counts from blood samples. The camera allows the user to easily visualize the sample without straining their eyes through the scope to count the tiny cells. Also, it is a useful teaching and diagnostic tool. Having the ability to display a microscope slide on the computer monitor allows many people to view the image at once, and captured digital pictures of the slides enable quick consultation with offsite veterinarians and researchers via email. Installation of the digital X-ray scanner/converter has enabled The Turtle Hospital to digitize current and back log radiographs. This is not only an efficient way to share results immediately with off-site veterinarians and scientists, but is a terrific educational tool. The Turtle Hospital has a 20 year catalog of sea turtle radiographs, many of which show the human impact on sea turtles (ie. Ingested fishing gear). After the film is run through the scanner, the images can be easily uploaded to a computer. This will also allow the hospital to finally have back up copies of the film. (Author: Richie Moretti)