Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

Stranding Location: Campground Beach, Eastham, MA

Arrival Date: 01/15/2012

Age: juvenile

Weight: 3.88 kg (8.5 lb)

Case History

Merigo is one of seven sea turtles transferred to the SCA’s Sea Turtle Hospital on January 15th, 2012, from the New England Aquarium (NEAq). All seven turtles originally cold-stunned around Cape Cod, MA, in November and December 2011, and were initially treated by NEAq’s Marine Animal Rescue Team. Thanks to the owner of North American Jets, Mason Holland, and the pilot of the fuel-efficient Eclipse 500 jet, Andy Smith, these 7 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 seven sea turtles to be released back into the wild at an earlier date.

Treatment

New England’s Stranding Program Manager, Connie Merigo, was instrumental in coordinating the transfer of these cold-stunned sea turtles to our facility. Connie spends an amazing amount of time rescuing sea turtles in Massachusetts, and we couldn’t help but name a turtle after her! Little Merigo (2.26 kg) was in relatively good shape following the flight to our hospital, and she is not currently receiving any medications. A healthy diet of mackerel, salmon, and smelt will ensure this ridley is in top condition for release this spring.

Updates

20 March 2012: Merigo has recently developed severe inflammation of her flipper joints, particularly the left front flipper at the wrist (carpus) and the left rear flipper at the knee (stifle). Radiographs and today’s CT scan show some osteomyelitis (degradation) in the wrist bones, but no joint degradation is visible in the rear flippers. Merigo is currently being treated with oral clindamycin and two injectable medications in an effort to reduce the infection and inflammation in these joints. Her behavior is stoic and a bit calmer than we normally see in ridleys, but this is likely a result of her current health issues. On a good note, she is eating and defecating normally.

15 April 2012: Merigo’s stifle (knee in the rear flipper) is severely inflamed, as you can view in the picture. Rest and medication are needed to remedy the bone infection this little ridley is suffering from.

7 June 2012: Merigo is doing amazingly well now that we have her osteomyelitis under control. She’s been receiving oral itraconazole to treat the stubborn joint infection, and we are excited to see the joint degeneration has stabilized. Physical exams and radiographs show the joints are much less inflamed, and may be improving. This little ridley is strong and active, and the joint issues haven’t stopped her from actively swimming around her tank and enjoying her enrichment items.

3 September 2012: Thanks to the staff at Charleston Veterinary Referral Center in West Ashley, Merigo was one of three turtles to receive a complimentary CT scan last Wednesday. While our vet is comfortable with the joint healing that has occurred in the front flipper, he is still concerned about the left rear knee. Merigo will be with us for a little longer.

Release Date

10/19/2012

Release Location

Boat Release – just offshore Kiawah Island, SC