Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Corporation Beach, Dennis, MA

Arrival Date: 12/05/2012

Age: juvenile

Weight: 4 kg (~ 9 lb.)

Case History

Dennis is one of ten sea turtles transferred to the South Carolina Aquarium’s (SCA) Sea Turtle Hospital on December 5th, 2012, from the New England Aquarium (NEAq). All ten turtles originally cold-stunned around Cape Cod, MA, in November and December 2012, and were initially treated by NEAq’s Marine Animal Rescue Team. Thanks to the owner of Davis Air, Inc., Gary Davis and pilot Neal McCann, these 10 turtles received complimentary first-class airfare to our facility to finish their rehabilitation. This transfer not only aids NEAq by freeing up limited resources, but also will allow these ten sea turtles to be released back into the wild at an earlier date.

Treatment

Dennis did well during transport on the comfy jet, and arrived in good condition with a strong heart rate of 40 bpm. However, this little ridley is a bit thin, but our healthy options of restaurant-quality fishes will quickly put some weight on him.

Updates

26 February 2013: Dennis has been a picky eater, often choosing not to eat the salmon, smelt, mackerel, and trout we provide him with daily. However, he is gaining weight and should be a feisty and robust turtle by the time we release him, hopefully this spring. Keep checking on this Kemp’s ridley to monitor his progress in our hospital!

11 April 2013: Dennis has developed a severe swelling in his right front flipper elbow joint, and x-rays are showing signs of osteomyelitis. We’ve cultured the joint (no useful results) and have started Dennis on two antibiotics and an antifungal medication. He is also receiving laser therapy (see photo), which should significantly speed recovery by stimulating the body’s natural healing processes. Dennis will be in our hospital for at least a few more months until the joint degradation stabilizes or improves.

24 July 2013: Oddly, laser therapy did not seem effective in treating osteomyelitis, although it’s produced amazing results on other turtles with shell fractures, open wounds, and such. However, Dennis’s elbow joint is finally much less swollen, and x-rays show the degeneration has stopped and appears to be reversing. This ridley is the last patient remaining from our December 2012 cold-stun group, so we are excited to see signs of improvement and are hoping he will be able to be released in the near future.

Release Date

Release Location