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Treating Red-Tide Exposure in Sea Turtles and Sea Birds

Harmful algal blooms, known as red tides, produce brevetoxins that are believed to have caused or contributed to the death of many marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, fish and invertebrates. Cholestyramine, a bile acid binder, has been used to treat cases of toxin exposure in humans and endotoxemia in domestic animals and may be a useful treatment for brevetoxicosis in loggerhead sea turtles and double-crested cormorants. Researchers will test the addition of cholestyramine to the standard treatment regimen of fluid therapy and tube feedings. This therapy may lead to quicker elimination of toxins and increased survival in animals affected by red tide events.