New treatment being developed for manatees poisoned by red tide
SARASOTA - Florida International University and Mote Marine Laboratory are developing new and more efficient ways to treat manatees exposed to toxic red tide.
Through a $428,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ECOHAB program, FIU and Mote are launching a three-year project to improve veterinary care for rescued manatees by studying how the cells in their immune system respond to certain antioxidants. The goal is to identify those antioxidants that may work better than the current treatment, which uses anti-inflammatory substances.
FIU chemist Kathleen Rein and Mote marine immunology expert Cathy Walsh are leading the research team.
“The current approach is simply to give palliative care and wait for them to clear the toxin and get better,” Rein said. “This new treatment could accelerate the healing process. If this treatment is successful, it could be used with many other animals including dolphins, turtles and birds.”