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Patient Update: January 21, 2021

Posted by on Jan 21, 2021 in Animals, Featured | 1 comment

Since our most recent blog post in November, a lot has been going on here at NMLC! We’ve been kept busy by a record-breaking sea turtle stranding season here on Cape Cod. Here’s a quick rundown of some details from this sea turtle season:  A total of 1174 sea turtles were reported by the Mass Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary this season. Not all of these turtles were still alive when they were found, but this season did see the highest number of live strandings ever recorded in Cape Cod! Sea turtles that were still alive when...

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Parasite of the Month- Answer December 2020

Posted by on Dec 17, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 0 comments

This parasite is Zalophotrema hepaticum, a species of trematode or fluke. Pinnipeds obtain this parasite through the ingestion of infected fish. Although this species is usually confined to the liver, recent studies have found evidence of this trematode migrating to the brain of sea lions, laying eggs, and causing fatal brain damage.     Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Colgate University.   Sources Fauquier, D., Gulland, F., Haulena, M., Dailey, M., Rietcheck,...

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Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- December 2020

Posted by on Dec 10, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 0 comments

This is a parasite we often find in pinnipeds. Although the most common host is the California sea lion, they are also found in Stellar’s sea lions, northern elephant seals, and Pacific harbor seals. This parasite is usually found in the liver or the adjacent bile duct. It can reach up to 21mm in length and 5mm in width. This parasite also has an oral sucker use for attaching to the host’s organs. What is this parasite and how does it affect pinnipeds?     Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine...

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The Natural History, Biology, and Conservation of Loggerhead Sea Turtles

Posted by on Dec 4, 2020 in Featured, Teaching | 0 comments

The Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), is the largest hard-shelled sea turtle in the world (National Geographic). It is found in warm temperate and subtropical waters throughout the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA]). Although it’s the most populous sea turtle in the western and eastern Atlantic Ocean, all of its distinct populations around the world are recognized as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (NOAA). As an opportunistic...

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Heartworm in Phocids

Posted by on Nov 27, 2020 in Featured, Teaching | 0 comments

Phocids, also known as earless seals or true seals, are common coastal marine mammals. Since 1972, seals have been protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and are cared for frequently in rehabilitation settings. Beyond human interference, seals encounter a variety of diseases and infections while in the wild. Parasitic infections are regularly found in wild seals and, in some cases, can have detrimental effects on the seal’s health. When trying to maintain healthy population sizes, it is important for animal care professionals to...

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Patient Update: November 26th, 2020

Posted by on Nov 26, 2020 in Animals, Featured | 1 comment

A lot has happened here at NMLC since our last update in October. Montauk, a harbor seal who was recently released after restranding due to human interaction, has returned to our hospital for a third time. After being released on Scusset Beach on October 15, 2020 with Marblehead and Derby, two other rehabilitated harbor seals, Montauk was seen for several days around Scorton Creek in Sandwich, MA. During his time here, he experienced multiple human interaction and dog interaction events. Representatives from NMLC and our partners at IFAW...

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Parasite of the Month- Answer November 2020

Posted by on Nov 25, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 0 comments

These ova belong to the genus Diphyllobothridea or the tapeworm. Tapeworms have a specialized scolex with suckers used to attach to the intestines of their host and are transferred to pinnipeds who eat infected fish. Using the fecal ova to identify parasites is important to seal rehabilitation at NMLC.     Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Colgate University.   Sources Kuzmina, T. A., Hernández-Orts, J. S., Lyons, E. T., Spraker, T. R., Kornyushyn, V. V., &...

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Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- November 2020

Posted by on Nov 15, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 0 comments

Here at NMLC, parasites are diagnosed by examining the seal’s feces. We use a fecal float test and a statspin to isolate the parasite ova and identify the species. These ova belong to a parasite that is found in the intestines of pinnipeds. While the ova are only 50-80 µm by 30-50 µm, the adult parasites can reach 4-10m in length. These ova are usually oval or round shaped and have a small knob on one end. What parasite do these ova belong to and how do they affect pinnipeds?     Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern...

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Parasite of the Month- Answer October 2020

Posted by on Oct 28, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 1 comment

This parasite is Cyamus scammoni, a species of whale lice. Whale lice have hooked appendages used to latch onto the outside of whales where they scavenge for food on the whale’s body, including eating whale skin. Pictured below are Cyamus scammoni and their unique coiled gills!     Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Colgate University.   Sources Hurley, D. E., & Mohr, J. L. (1957). On whale-lice (Amphipoda: Cyamidae) from the California gray whale,...

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Marine Mammal Parasite of the Month- October 2020

Posted by on Oct 22, 2020 in Featured, Under the Microscope | 0 comments

This parasite is actually a crustacean and is only found on gray whales. They can grow up to 27mm in length and occur in large colonies. Juveniles of this species are not free-swimming and actually develop in a maternal pouch similar to marsupials. What is this parasite and how does it affect whales?                 Posted by Meaghan K. Meaghan is a fall intern who is majoring in Marine and Freshwater Biology at Colgate...

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