THE TSAVO MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - October 2014

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF OCTOBER 2014

Reported By Jeremiah Poghon

Introduction

The area under review continue to experience dry weather with occasional showers barely enough to ensure greening of the semi-arid vegetation in the Tsavo ecosystem. Forage and water scarcity is being experienced across the region leading to poor body condition in most wildlife species with some elephant calves succumbing to the effects of drought. Case load decreased drastically with only four large bulls treated during the month unlike tens in the month of September. Cases treated included two bulls with arrow injuries near Dakota area of Tsavo East and rescue of stranded elephant calves in a dried up water hole along the Mzima water pipeline in Tsavo east.

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Dakota area - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 6th October 2014

History

This injured elephant was reported by a pilot who was doing an aerial survey of the area which is largely populated by elephant bulls. The bull was in a group of three others with a wound near the inguinal area.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan-inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl18mg was prepared. The elephant was darted from a vehicle using a Dan inject rifle and was immobilized after 10 minutes. He was then flipped using a vehicle so the vet team could access the wound.

The elephant is immobilised for treatment  The vehicle helps flip him so the vet can examine the injury

There was a small arrow wound on the right abdominal wall with a lower opening thought to have been caused by accumulation of pus and subsequent rupture. The wounds were cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen peroxide and all abscesses cleaned out. The wounds were sprayed with tincture of Iodine and covered with green clay. Long acting antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were administered by injection.

This arrow wound is leaking pus  The vet examines the extent of the injury

The wound is cleaned and pus and dead tissue removed  Antiseptic spray and green clay is applied

Reversal

Reversal of anaesthetic was attained by administration of 60 mgs of Diprenorphine Hcl  intravenously into the ear vein.

Preparing the medication   The vet is about to revive the elephant

CASE#2 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Dakota area - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 6th October 2014

History

After the treatment of the first injured elephant bull another one was seen nearby with an injury to the flank with a small amount of pus oozing out. He was in a group of two other bulls.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan-Inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl was prepared and the elephant was darted from a vehicle using a Dan inject dart rifle. The elephant had to be darted twice and was immobilized after 10 minutes following the second darting. He fell near Dakota airstrip and had to be turned over to expose the injured flank.

The arrow wound on the left abdominal flank was not very old and blood and pus exudate could be seen leaking from the injury. The wounds were cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen peroxide and all abscesses cleaned out. The wounds were sprayed with tincture of Iodine and covered with green clay. Long acting antibiotics and anti-inflammatories were administered by injection.

A second bull with an arrow injury  The arrow injury to the flank

The vet team attending to the injured bull elephant  The vet cleaning the wound

Reversal

60 mgs of Diprenorphine Hcl was administered intravenously into the ear vein.

Injecting the drug to reverse the anaesthetic   The wound cleaned, treated and packed with green clay

Prognosis

Good

CASE#3 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Calf

Location: Mzima pipeline area - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 6th October 2014

History

During the dry seasons like the one we are currently experiencing, elephants search for water in all possible areas including leaks from the Mzima pipeline that transports water to Mombasa. The deep hole made by digging elephants is too steep for juvenile elephants to climb out hence they need rescue. About 5 elephant calves have died in this water hole in the last two months. One of the calves that fell was rescued and reunited with his mother, but unfortunately fell in again at night and was killed by Hyenas.

The vet team assists this little elephant from the mud hole  The vet team will reunite him with his mother

The little elephant is steered towards his mother  The baby elephant runs back to its mother

CASE#4 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Dakota area - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 21st October 2014

History

Five elephant bulls were spotted with injuries by an aerial recce undertaken by DSWT aeroplane and reported to the unit who promptly rushed to the area and joined a helicopter team for the treatment exercise. Of the five elephants seen, two were confirmed to require vet intervention.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan - inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl was prepared. The elephant was herded to a new area, darted with a Dan inject dart rifle from a helicopter and was immobilized after 10 minutes.

Another elephant with an arrow injury  The vet team assessing the injury

There were two arrow wounds to the left abdominal flank and pus could be seen leaking from the injury. The wounds were opened and dead tissues and pus was removed. The wound was then cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen peroxide, doused with tincture of Iodine and sprayed with Oxytetracycline spray. Long acting antibiotics (Betamox LA) and Dexamethasone Hcl were injected parenterally.

The arrow wound is full of pus  The vet has to cut the wound to drain the pus

The vet has to remove any dead tissue  The wound is cleaned with hydrogen peroxide

Reversal

60 mgs of Diprenorphine was administered through the ear vein.

Water and iodine are also used to clean wound  Antiseptic spray and green clay is then applied

CASE#5 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Dakota area - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 21st October 2014

History

Five elephant bulls were spotted with injuries by an aerial recce undertaken by DSWT aeroplane and reported to the unit who promptly rushed to the area and joined a helicopter team for the treatment exercise. Of the five elephants seen, two were confirmed to need vet intervention.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan - inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl was prepared. The elephant was herded to a new area, darted with a Dan inject dart rifle from a helicopter and was immobilized after 9 minutes.

The elephant is immobilised and doused with water  This elephant has an arrow wound to the side

There was one arrow wound to the left lower abdominal flank and pus could be seen leaking from the injury. The wounds were opened and dead tissues and pus was removed. The wound was cleaned using water mixed with Hydrogen peroxide, doused with tincture of Iodine and sprayed with Oxytetracycline spray! Long acting antibiotics (Betamox LA) and Dexamethasone Hcl were injected parenterally.

The vet team work quickly  The wound is cleaned with water and disinfected with iodine

Reversal

60 mgs of Diprenorphine Hcl was administered into the ear vein.

CASE#6 EXAMINATION OF COURT EXHIBITS

Species: Python and Leopard skins

Sex: N/A

Age: Adult

Location: Mutomo police station

Date: 23rd October 2014

History

Since the new wildlife conservation law has come into effect, which spells hefty penalties for those caught breaking it, the courts requires certification of the exhibits by professionals and production of expert reports. The unit was called in by investigating officers in a case involving a person arrested with 4 python and one leopard skins.

Examination

The python exhibits were spread in an open area and the length measurement taken as 4.6m, 3.4m, 2.9m and 2.7m while the leopard skin was skinned from an adult leopard. Two of the python skins were fresh and two were old; determined from the tissue debris attached to the skins. They are thought to be destined for illegal sale.

Four python skins and one leopard skin have been confiscated  The vet team measure and assess the confiscated items

The leopard skin is from an adult leopard  These items were destined for illegal sale

A report was produced and attached to the case file as an expert examination report.

CASE#7 TREATMENT OF A SICK ZEBRA

Species: Common Zebra

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Sagalla ranch - Tsavo East National Park

Date: 24th October 2014

History

The Zebra was previously an orphan raised by the Sheldricks Voi stockade staff until big enough and then released to Sagalla ranch where other Zebras are also kept. The Zebra was reported weak and unable to stand up with additional wounds on the back.

Examination and treatment

Examination revealed poor body condition from possible lack of good nutrition. Vitamin B12 complex (Catasol), dexamethasone and long acting antibiotics (Amoxycillin LA) were administered. Feed supplementation was advised especially Lucerne and hay.

This zebra was reported as sickly

Prognosis

Prognosis is good.

CASE#8 AUTOPSY REPORT OF AN ELEPHANT ORPHAN

Date of Death: 25th October 2014

Date of Postmortem: 25th October 2014

Species: Elephant named Sorka

Sex: Female

Age: 3 years

Location: Voi, Stockade Tsavo east

History

This orphan was brought into the stockade after being rescued from Galana within Tsavo East Park. She continued to do well until her condition started deteriorating and she was unable to walk for long periods. She was treated at the stockade but she succumbed days later.  

General examination

The carcass condition was poor placed in a scale of 2/5. The skin was peeling off leaving raw wounds. On opening the liver, heart and kidneys appeared normal. The lungs were congested with bloody parenchyma when sliced. The small intestines had haemorrhagic gastro-enteritis with a bloody lumen and no food contents. No other significant findings were seen in other organs.

Post mortem diagnosis

Haemorrhagic –enteritis and pneumonia

Conclusion

Died from severe intestinal and lung infection.

Results from the autopsy showed severe infection  Results from the autopsy showed severe infection

Conclusion and acknowledgement

The unit would like to appreciate the support of its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their continued support that enabled us save suffering wildlife at their time of need. We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Assistant director Tsavo conservation area and the head, veterinary and capture services department for their support.

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