Grant: 17-030R
Project Title: Establishing circulating red blood cell volume and plasma volume reference intervals for loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and green (Chelonia mydas) sea turtles
Project Manager: Dr. Nichole Stacy
Organization: University of Florida - College of Veterinary Medicine (Research and Educational Institute)
Grant Amount: $16,642.50
Completion Date: 0000-00-00

Summary: Blood transfusions are often needed for sea turtles undergoing surgery for fibropapillomatosis or for treatment of anemia associated with other medical conditions such as traumatic boat strike. However, current recommendations for safe blood withdrawal for blood transfusions, diagnostics, and research in sea turtles are based on studies in mammals and a single freshwater turtle study, and evidence-based guidelines and protocols for blood and transfusions do not exist to date. The objectives of this project are to: 1) Validate two completely safe, non-toxic methodologies for determination of circulating red blood cell volume using the biotin-labeling technique, and determination of plasma volume using the fluorescent labeled albumin molecule (Texas Red Albumin), and 2) To establish reference intervals for red cell volume and plasma volume in green and loggerhead sea turtles. The results of this study will provide new and useful information that will contribute to understanding blood volume homeostasis and hemodynamics in health and disease of sea turtles. We anticipate that this new information will be useful to revise safe blood volume withdrawal recommendations, promote evidence-based transfusion protocols, and will improve treatment strategies at rehabilitation facilities by enhancing the quality of medical care and by better predicting accurate drug dose and distribution for new therapies that have not yet been tried in sea turtles. We are seeking funding for disposables and supplies needed for sample blood collection, blood transfusion, and sample processing and analysis.