Turtles get unusual treatment: acupuncture


Dexter receives acupuncture therapy at the New England Aquarium’s sea animal care center in Quincy, Massachusetts. (Steve Heaslip/Associated Press)

Two rescued sea turtles are getting help easing back into the wild — from an acupuncturist.

Dexter and Fletcher Moon, sea turtles stuck on Cape Cod in Massachusetts, get pricks from tiny needles in a therapy called acupuncture, which is used mostly on humans to relieve pain or treat disease.

“You notice there’s no blood,” acupuncturist Claire McManus said. “They didn’t really feel it.”

The turtles were stuck on Cape Cod during unusually cold weather. They developed hypothermia (very low body temperature) and couldn’t move or eat for days. The turtles were taken to the New England Aquarium’s animal care center.

“They haven’t been eating in a couple of weeks,” said the aquarium’s Connie Merigo.

Vets used laser therapy, antibiotics and other treatments to help the turtles. But those didn’t work. So they called in McManus.

The turtles have had three acupuncture sessions, Merigo said, smiling broadly as she described their recent improvements.

“We are seeing improved limb use and improved appetite,” Merigo said. “They are eating on their own, which is fantastic.”

— Associated Press

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