THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - December 2014

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR MAASAI MARA MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF DECEMBER 2014

Reported by Dr. Campaign K. Limo

Introduction.

The month of December was characterized by moderate precipitation with pasture and fodder flourishing. However tourism activity continued to decline compared to same time last year. Elephant spearing still remains a cause for concern in the area and a young elephant was treated for a spear inflicted wound after removing the spear lodged on the right side of his neck. Other cases included two Giraffe’s and a Bull Elephant with snare injuries and a lion with mange.

The following are activities carried out during the month:

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF A SPEARED ELEPHANT

Date: 7th December 2014

Species: African elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Male

Age: 10 years      

Location: Mara North Conservancy.

History

Mara North Conservancy rangers spotted this elephant during their normal patrol. They immediately reported the case to the Mobile Veterinary Unit stating that the spear was still lodged in the elephant’s neck. The Unit responded immediately.

An elephant is seen with a spear embedded in its head  The spear has penetrated the ear and body

General observation

This young bull was isolated and appeared to be in great pain. A spear could be seen lodged in the right side of his neck. The entire ventral side of his jaw including his neck was swollen. He attempted several times to drink water, but there were signs of dysphagia with everything he tried to ingest, including water, being regurgitated. It appeared the swelling on the neck including surrounding lymph nodes had constricted the upper gastro intestinal tract. Breathing was also labored, which suggested that his nostril were constricted by the swelling.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 12mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5ml Dan inject dart from a vehicle. The drugs took effect after eight minutes and the elephant fell onto his right side. He was flipped over to lie on the left for easier assessment and treatment due to the fact that the lodged spear and resulting wound were on his right.

The elephant is darted for treatment of a spear wound  The spear is removed

The spear was gently removed and had gone deep through the right ear pinna to hit the cervical verterbrae. The spear was imbedded by at least half a meter. The entire spear, including the handle was metallic. From assessment the spear could have been in place for at least four days with sepsis setting in. Some of the nerves exiting from cervical area of the spine could have been affected as the elephant was showing poor coordination in movement and left lateral kink of the neck.

The resultant wounds were cleaned with copious amount of water and debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide and Gauze Swabs. Tincture of Iodine was then used to disinfect before Oxytetracycline spray was applied and green clay packed into the wound. In addition the elephant was given intramuscular injection of 15000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 80mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatories. 200mgs Ivermectin parasiticide was also administered subcutaneously.

The vet examines the extent of the damage  The wound is treated and cleaned

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administration of 30mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride through superficial ear vein. The elephant rose with a small assistance using ropes and walked into a nearby bush.

The elephant is helped to his feet  The elephant heads off into the bush after treatment

Prognosis

Guarded. The elephant will be closely monitored for follow up treatment.

CASE#2 TREATMENT OF LIONESS WITH MANGE

Date: 8th December 2014

Species: Lion (Panthera leo)

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Mara Naboisho Conservancy

History

This lioness, a member of the Naboisho resident pride had been identified and monitored over some time by the management of Mara Naboisho Conservancy. The lioness was exhibiting signs of a mange infestation and wasn’t showing any improvement. The management sought the assistance of the Mobile Veterinary Unit.

General observation

The lioness was found in the company of her two cubs and the other members of her pride on the edge of a small thicket. They appeared to have fed recently and were both the Lioness and her cubs were moderately affected by mange.

The lions with mange are in a large pride  A lion hidden in the bush

Treatment

Because of their location and elusiveness, a decision was made to deliver Ivermectin paraciticide remotely. Delivery was achieved using a 3ml Dan inject dart and a 2.0 x 30mm needle administering 30mg of Ivermectin for the mother and 20mg Ivermectin for each cub. The drugs were administered successfully and the darts fell off a few minutes after the drugs had discharged.

Lions with mange  The lioness are darted with the treatment

Progress on the effects of treatment will be monitored for the next couple of weeks after which a decision will be made on whether to give them additional treatment.

Prognosis

Good

CASES#3&4 TREATMENT OF SNARED GIRAFFES

Date: 8th December 2014

Species: Maasai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi)

Sex: Female

Age: Adult & Calf

Location: Olkuruk airstrip, Kawaii

History

These two cases were reported to the Mobile Vet Unit by the Mara Triangle rangers after they were spotted in the community areas. The Mara Triangle rangers were undertaking joint patrols with the Care for the Wild team and they kept watch over these giraffes before the arrival of the Vet Unit.

Case 3: Adult Female Giraffe

General observation

The adult giraffe had a snare deeply buried into her right hind interphalyngeal joint. The joint was severely swollen and the giraffe could hardly bear any weight on this limb.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 12mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride and 50mgs Azaperone delivered together using a 1.5ml Dan inject dart from a vehicle. The drugs took effect after seven minutes and with the help of ropes, the giraffe was brought down.

The giraffe is spotted with a snare  After darting the giraffe is roped

Closer examination revealed an old snare embedded deep into the joint. The wound was infested with maggots. The snare wire was cut loose and pulled out and the maggots were removed. The wound was then washed with copious amount of water before being debrided using Hydrogen Peroxide and Gauze Swabs. Tincture of Iodine was applied to the wound and the wound was packed with green clay. The giraffe was further treated using 4500mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 60mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatory, which were both injected intramuscularly.

The snare has damaged the foot  The vet examines the injury

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administration of 36mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride intravenously through the jugular vein. The giraffe rose within two minutes and ran to join the rest of her herd.

The giraffe is revived  The snare is removed with wire cutters

Prognosis.

Good

Case 4:Juvenile Female Giraffe

Observation

The younger of the two giraffes appeared to be limping slightly on her right hind limb. There was a visible, partially healed, constricting wound mid way up her metatarsal so a decision was made to immobilize her for closer examination.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using a combination of 6mgs Etorphine and 25mgs Azaperone in a 3ml Dan inject dart administered from a vehicle. The drugs took effect after eight minutes and the giraffe was pulled to the ground with help of ropes.

The giraffe is darted  The giraffe is darted

Upon examination, it was revealed that the giraffe had an old wound resulting from a snare that had either been removed or fallen off by itself. The damage from the snare was severe and the metatarsal bone could be seen on the inner side of the limb. The wound was washed with water before being debrided using Hydrogen Peroxide and Gauze Swabs. Tincture of Iodine was applied to the wound and the wound was packed with green clay. In addition, the calf received 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 15mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatory, which were injected intramuscularly.

The injury is assessed, cleaned and treated

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by use of 18mgs Diprenorphine, which was administered intravenously through the jugular vein. The giraffe calf rose within 2 minutes and joined the rest of her herd.

The giraffe is revived  The giraffe gets to its feet and rejoins the others

Prognosis.

Good.

CASE#5 TREATMENT OF BULL ELEPHANT WITH SNARE WOUND

Date: 9th December 2014

Species: African elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Mara Naboisho Conservancy

History

This elephant was spotted by the Mara Naboisho Conservancy management and brought to the attention of the Mobile Veterinary Unit.

General observation

Though the elephant looked in good shape it appeared to be disturbed by a wound on his right forelimb and he was feeding along on Acacia twigs by a riverside.

Immobilization examination and treatment

The elephant was immobilized using 15mgs Etorphine delivered through a 1.5ml Dan inject dart. The drugs took effect after eight minutes. Examination of the elephant revealed an old snare wound round his metacarpus. The snare had fallen off or had been removed. The wound was septic and required debriding with Hydrogen Peroxide and Gauze Swab. The wound was rinsed with water and tincture of Iodine was applied as a disinfectant. Oxytetracycline spray was also applied topically before the wound was packed with green clay. In addition, the elephant was treated with 15000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 100mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatory, both were given intramuscularly.

This bull is darted for treatment  Antibiotics are adminstered

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administration of 42mgs of Diprenorphine intravenously through the superficial ear vein. He rose up two minutes after revival and walked away.

The wound after treatment  The treated elephant heads back to the bush

Prognosis.

Good

Conclusion

The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit would like to thank all stakeholders who contributed in one way or another during the year making it possible for the Mobile Vet Unit to undertake several rescues and treatments within the Mara region; the team could not have achieved this without your cooperation. Many thanks to Minara Foundation, who through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust have provided enormous help in facilitating the unit. Many thanks also go to KWS who have supported the Mobile Vet Unit in every aspect to achieve their results, which are crucial for the conservation of the Mara ecosystem. The continuing partnership between KWS and David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has seen many wildlife species being saved from unwarranted suffering.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2015 to you all.

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