IWS designed a mobile wildlife research hospital to support our field projects requiring a high level of veterinary or real-time laboratory support. The hospital was built in a 48’ gooseneck trailer, which allows it to be moved between locations with relative ease.
The hospital consists of three main rooms: an office/laboratory space, a holding and treatment area for patients, and an operating room.
The laboratory has the necessary equipment to conduct standard veterinary blood analyses using a hospital hematology machine, a serum chemistry analyzer, centrifuges, and a microscope. Stable storage of blood and other tissues are supported in our -80° C freezer. The laboratory also has an autoclave for sterilizing instruments as well as computer and internet resources.
The patient room contains stainless steel cages for holding patients, an x-ray machine and developer, a wet sink for patient preparation, and a patient exam area with the necessary holding space for medical supplies.
The operating room provides full surgical capability, including a surgery table and light, patient monitor, anesthesia machine, oxygen generator and back-up oxygen tanks, IV fluid pumps, ultrasound and circulating heating pad. The equipment in the trailer can be operated by external power sources or by a self-contained gas-powered generator.
The hospital was most recently used to provide medical support on San Nicolas Island for island foxes that may become injured as part of an effort to restore seabird populations through the live-capture and removal of feral cats from the island. This project was funded by the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, which also funds the bald eagle restoration program on the Channel Islands (see our Bald Eagle pages), peregrine falcon monitoring, and other important programs.
For the seabird restoration project, IWS cared for injured island foxes, whether or not the injury was the result of feral cat trapping efforts. We also provided temporary care for the captured feral cats as they waited to be transported to a facility on the mainland (operated by the Humane Society of the United States) that will provide long-term care for the cats.
IWS biologist Hower Blair examines an island fox while biologist Daniel Jackson records data.
IWS biologists Daniel Jackson and Thomas Thein obtain a blood sample for analysis from an anesthetized feral cat.
IWS veterinarian Winston Vickers and biologists Kari Signor and Daniel Jackson prepare to x-ray an island fox to assess its injuries.
Preparing for, and conducting, surgery on the foxes leg