New laser therapy machine helps injured sea turtles

Dr. Shane Boylan with the S.C. Aquarium gives laser therapy to a Kemp's ridley sea turtle with a laser therapy machine donated to the aquarium to help injured sea turtles and other animals.

A new machine is helping some of the world's slowest animals to a speedy recovery.

“Turtles heal very slowly,” said Shane Boylan, the S.C. Aquarium staff veterinarian. “This machine allows us to speed up the recovery.”

Boylan said the machine, a cold light laser, helps injured turtles suffering from fractures and arthritis. The machine stimulates production of adenosine triphosphate, the chemical in the body that helps repair injuries.

“It's very much like sports medicine,” Boylan said. “A couple of NBA teams use these for sprain or trauma.”

The Sea Turtle Hospital has 16 patients, including loggerheads, green turtles and Kemp's ridley turtles.

“[The machines] have been around at least for 20 years,” Boylan said. “The past five to six years it's made big inroads into veterinary medicine.”

Loggerhead Apparel donated $7,500 Tuesday to the South Carolina Aquarium to help injured turtles and other aquatic creatures. Along with an anonymous donor, the aquarium received a total of $24,000.