Grant: 15-038C
Project Title: Outfitting a Surgical and Treatment Suite for Whitney Sea Turtle Hospital
Project Manager: Catherine Eastman
Organization: University of Florida - Whitney Laboratory (Research and Educational Institute)
Grant Amount: $30,450.00
Completion Date: 2016-05-06

Summary: The UF Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience w purchase equipment and supplies to help outfit the Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab. The hospital is currently under construction (a remodeled portion of the laboratory) and will be opening in 2015. At this point in the rehabilitation center progress, we are working to complete the surgical suite and are requesting needed surgical and treatment equipment to outfit the hospital to treat sick and injured turtles in NE Florida. The completion of the surgical suite will be essential to the success of the hospital in rehabilitating and returning sea turtles in the North East Florida region to their habitat.

Results: The Sea Turtle Hospital at Whitney Lab celebrated Grand Opening October 24, 2015. We welcomed our first patient two days later. Our first surgery was January 11, 2016. After completing two FP removal surgeries, veterinary staff deemed the best way to proceed with complete tumor removal was with the aid of a CO2 laser. After acquiring donations for a CO2 laser (March, 2016), FP tumor surgery month (April) has commenced. At the time of this report, our current patient list consists of eight juvenile green turtles all afflicted with FP coupled with additional ailments. Two patients have undergone complete tumor removal surgeries and will potentially be released late May/Early June. Four additional patients will undergo surgery during April. Of those four patients two are complex tumor removals and will take multiple procedure/healing time cycles to completely remove their tumors. Two patients are not ready for surgery at the time of this report. To date, 31 patients have received treatment at our facility, 15 of those patients were afflicted with FP. Of those 15, we still have eight FP positive patients. We have had two patients released back to the wild; neither patient had FP tumors. All treatment with the exception of radiography and CT are performed onsite. X-rays and CT scans are provided by local veterinary facilities and human imaging centers. The treatment and surgical equipment, table, light, autoclave, instruments and diagnostics purchased through the Sea Turtle Grants Program have been utilized in part daily since October 24, 2015 Grand Opening. The treatment and surgical suite is the backbone to the facility. Without it, we would not be able to provide this level of care to our patients and turtles that we triage prior to transport.