Grant: 10-013C
Project Title: Request for Ventilator – Diagnostics – Veterinary Software – Rehab Pools
Project Manager: Richie Moretti
Organization: Hidden Harbor Marine Environmental Project (The Turtle Hospital) (Non-Profit Organization)
Grant Amount: $17,585.76
Completion Date: 2011-07-20

Summary: The Turtle Hospital in Marathon strives to provide the highest level of veterinary care for each one of its sea turtle patients. State of the art surgeries are performed weekly at The Turtle Hospital, including Fibropapilloma removal, endoscopies, amputations, and shell repair. For many of these medical procedures the turtle must be fully sedated under general anesthesia. Because the turtles are “conscious breathers”, they must have manual breathing performed throughout the surgery. A ventilator will regulate precise breathing intervals as well as deliver anesthesia to the turtle during a surgical procedure. Many sea turtles are found floating with no visible signs of injury.

After an animal is rescued or a surgery is performed, the turtles are moved to rehab pools for their critical care needs. When a sea turtle is found entangled, it is vital to promote physical activity to establish blood flow and proper healing. The Turtle Hospital will add two 2000 gallon rehab pools where the animal can receive drug administration and wound care and also have adequate space to exercise the damaged flipper.

Results: The Turtle Hospital in Marathon ordered, received, and installed the two large (15’ long x 6’ wide x 3’ deep) 2000 gallon rehabilitation pools. The large pools have allowed us to provide a size-appropriate rehabilitation tank for our larger sea turtle patients. AS of this report, they house a 161-pound loggerhead (Charley II) and a 257-pound loggerhead (Bev), both of which would have been cramped and unable to swim around easily in the smaller tanks.

The new ventilator is customized to allow us to regulate breathing and deliver anesthesia automatically at the appropriate intervals for sea turtles undergoing surgical procedures. With the old ventilator, we have to manually time and press the ventilator every few minutes during surgeries. We are excited about adding this improvement to the surgical care for our sea turtle patients.