THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - January 2015

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EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT JANUARY 2015

Report by: Bernard Rono, Veterinary Officer

SUMMARY

The unit attended to various clinical cases in Meru, Samburu and Laikipia conservation areas in January 2015 after a short break in December. Species affected included elephants, Grevys’ zebra and white rhinos. Details of these cases are described below.

CASE # 1: WHITE RHINO HEALTH ASSESSMENT

Date: 9th January 2015

Species: White Rhino

Sex: Male

Age: 1 year

Location: Solio Ranch

History

This rhino was reported to have shown dullness, lethargy and showed little movement for the previous five days. The warden in charge of rhino in Solio ranch requested a health assessment and treatment.

Examination

This rhino was found with its mother wallowing in a mud pool near the eastern boundary of the ranch. General examination showed good body condition score. No other external injuries were seen.

No treatment was required and we advised close monitoring of this juvenile rhinos for any changes.

CASE #2: TREATMENT OF A GREVYS’ ZEBRA

Date: 14th January 2015

Species: Grevys’ Zebra

Sex: Male

Age: Subadult

Location: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

History

Three free ranging subadult Grevys’ zebra in Ol Pejeta conservancy (OPC) showed progressive loss of body condition and rough hair coat. Wildlife monitoring team in OPC suspected severe helminth infestation and/or tick borne disease infection and recommended immobilization for sample collection and analysis for diagnosis. 

Immobilization, examination and treatment

One Grevys zebra was darted to collect samples for confirmatory diagnosis and Etorphine Hydrochloride 3mg with Xylazine hydrochloride 40mg in a single 1.5cc DanInject dart was used.

The zebra is darted and goes down for treatment  The eyes are covered to reduce stress

On physical examination, pale mucous membranes, dehydration and emaciation were evident.

The vet examines the zebra for signs of injury  Samples are taken from the zebra for further testing

Samples collected and analysis

A complete cell (CBC) count of EDTA blood showed severe anemia. The fecal sample for helminth egg analysis could not be processed as it had not preserved properly. The zebra was given 7ml 1% Ivermectin subcutaneously and 15ml 20% Oxytetracycline intramuscularly. 

Recommendation

Further collection of samples and analysis is advised for confirmation of the causative agent and treatment.

The anaesthetic is reversed   The zebra gets to its feet following treatment

CASE #3: INJURED ELEPHANT IN WAMBA

Date: 14th January 2015

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Il Kisin, Wamba

History

This injured elephant was reported by the KWS warden in Wamba. He showed lameness with minimal movement in the previous two days.

We visited the area on 14th January but a two day search for the elephant in IL Kisin lugga and surrounding areas was unsuccessful.

CASE# 4: TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 20th January 2015

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult – 45 years old

Location: Sarara Lodge, Namunyak Conservancy

History

This elephant was reported sick by tour guides in Sarara lodge who saw it during a routine game drive. It had a dull demeanor and swollen genitalia. It was immobilized for examination and treatment on January 20th.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The elephant was immobilized using Etorphine hydrochloride 20mg in a 3cc DanInject dart with a 2.0 × 60mm needle. He was darted from foot with the dart placed into the left gluteal muscles. Induction time was 15 minutes with the elephant falling onto left lateral recumbency.

An elephant is spotted with an injury and swelling  The swelling is severe

Genital examination showed a swollen penis and inflammation of the prepuce. No pus was found on aspiration. An infected penetrating bullet wound through the hard palate and the dorsal part of the trunk was observed.

The vet examines the elephant for other injuries  A bullet wound is also found

The wound was cleaned with water and topical antimicrobial opticlox was applied before administering 20% Oxytetracycline hydrochloride 200ml intramuscularly.

The swelling is also treated  The bullet wound is also cleaned and treated

Recovery

Diprenophine hydrochloride 60mg was injected into superficial veins in the ear to reverse the effect of anesthetic drug.

The elephant is revived from the anaesthetic   The elephant treatment has been successful

Prognosis

This elephant has a good prognosis for recovery.

CASE #5: EUTHANISIA OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 21st January 2015

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Adult – 12 years old

Location: IL Ngwesi Conservancy

History

This elephant was reported to have sustained gunshot injuries to the left forelimb on 20th January. The elephant was in a herd of 10 elephants which had raided a maize farm in Il Ngwesi. Community rangers who responded attempted to drive away the herd but she charged at them prompting them to shoot in self defense.

The maize field that was raided by elephants  An elephant is seen limping

The senior warden Isiolo requested veterinary assessment of the elephant which was done on 21st January.

Immobilization, examination and euthanisa

The elephant was immobilized with 10mg Etorphine hydrochloride in a 3cc DanInject dart with a 2.0 × 60mm needle. She was darted from foot with the dart placed into the right gluteal muscles. Induction time was 5 minutes with the elephant falling onto left lateral recumbency. She was rolled onto right lateral recumbency for examination.

The elephant has a swollen limb  The vet examines the leg which is fractured

Manipulation of the left forelimb showed fracture of the humerus with crepitus felt on palpation. Fracture in elephants has a poor prognosis for recovery due to their enormous weight and an inability to fix affected bones.

Bullet wounds are found which were fired in self defence  Another bullet wound is found

This elephant was euthanized by a single bullet into the cranium to prevent prolonged suffering. A post mortem showed a comminuted fracture of the humerus and the head of the scapula.

CASE #6: TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 24th  January 2015

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult – 35 years old

Location: Lombala ranch, Rumuruti

History

This injured elephant was reported by Space for Giants (SfG) scouts in Laikipia through the KWS warden in Rumuruti who requested for its treatment as it showed severe lameness and swelling on the right forelimb. The elephant was immobilized for examination and treatment on 24th January 2015.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The elephant was immobilized using Etorphine hydrochloride 20mg in a 3cc DanInject dart with a 2.0 × 60mm needle. He was darted from foot with the dart placed into the gluteal muscles. Induction time was 9 minutes with the elephant falling onto right lateral recumbency.

The elephant is darted and goes down  The vet finds an injury to the limb

Examination showed infected penetrating wounds distal to the left carpal joint with crepitus felt on probing with a forceps suggesting a fracture in the bones of the carpal joint. The right forelimb was swollen distal to the carpal joint with a single penetrating wound. Injuries to this elephant were caused by gunshot.

The vet examines the elephant further  The wound is opened and cleaned

The wounds were debrided using hydrogen peroxide and application of iodine. 20% Oxytetracycline hydrochloride 300ml was administered intramuscularly. Corticosteroids were given to reduce inflammation.

Dead tissue and pus is removed  Antiseptic spray is applied to the wound

Green clay facilitates healing  The vet finishes the treatment

Recovery

Diprenophine hydrochloride 60mg was injected into superficial veins in the ear to reverse the effect of anesthetic drug and the elephant was back on his feet after 2 minutes.

The anaesthsia is reversed  The elephant back on its feet after treatment

Prognosis

Prognosis for recovery is guarded however; the SfG scout will monitor this animal and report back. 

CASE #7: INJURED GREVYS’ ZEBRA

Date: 24th January 2015

Species: Grevys’ zebra

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Lewa wildlife conservancy

History

An adult male Grevys’ zebra in Lewa wildlife conservancy (LWC) sustained injuries on its rump and hind quarters when it was attacked by a lion. It was seen by tourists during a game drive who requested for its treatment through the LWC wildlife monitoring team.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A combination of Etorphine hydrochloride 7mg and Medetomidine hydrochloride 10mg in a single 1.5cc Daninject dart was used to immobilize the elephant. Darting was acheived from a vehicle with the dart placed into the gluteal muscles. After 3 minutes he fell onto sternal recumbency.

An injured zebra is reported and quickly darted  The drugs take affect

Examination showed deep puncture wounds into the dorsal lumbar muscles. There were also lacerations (upto 30cm in length) both left and right gluteus with loss of skin in some areas. These injuries are consistent with attempted predation.

The wounds are consisted with attempted predation  First, the wounds are cleaned

The wounds were thoroughly scrubbed with clean water to remove foreign bodies and povidone iodine applied. Redundant tissue was debrided using a scapel blade. Lacerations were sutured using Nylon number 3 simple interrupted pattern. An antibiotic, Betamox trihydrate 4500mg, was injected and an analgesic drug Flunixin Meglumine 1000mg was injected deep intramuscular.

The skin is then sutured back together  The vet finishing the stitches

Topical ointment is applied  Green clay is used to protect the wound and facilitate healing

Recovery

Anesthesia was reversed after 45 minutes using Naltrexone hydrochloride 150mg and Atipamezole hydrochloride 15mg given intravenously through the jugular vein. Recovery was smooth, however, because of prolonged recumbency the hind legs were numb.

The drugs are reversed and the blindfold removed  The treatment is successful and the zebra gets up

Prognosis

Prognosis for recovery is good. A review of this case is recommended after 2 weeks to remove the sutures and clean the wounds.

CASE #8: TREATMENT OF AN INJURED WHITE RHINO

Date: 26th January 2015

Species: White Rhino, name: Peter (Id.: 70W58)

Sex: Male

Age: Adult – 12 years old

Location: Meru national park, rhino sanctuary

History

The rhino monitoring team in Meru national park reported that this rhino was in a fight with another bull two days earlier. It manifested wounds on various parts of the body and loss of its front horn which was later recovered by rangers on patrol. This rhino was immobilized to assess the extent of injuries and treatment on 26th January.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Darting was done from a helicopter provided by KWS. A combination of Etorphine hydrochloride 6mg and Xylazine hydrochloride 60mg in a single 1.5cc danInject dart was used. The dart was placed into the dorsal lumbar muscles and went down after 6 minutes.

The rhino has been dehorned in a fight  The rhino is assisted onto its side for treatment

   

Butorphanol tartate 40mg was also injected intravenously through the ear vein to stabilize the immobilized rhino.

Examination showed lacerations to the carpal joint of the left forelimb and an infected puncture wound on the left ventral flank. There were bruises on the ventral neck area. The rhino’s front horn was amputated from the base causing a benign wound which showed signs of healing.

The rhino has sustained multiple wounds in a fight  The horn has been completely removed

The wounds were thoroughly washed with water and an antiseptic. Hydrogen peroxide was used to remove dead tissue debris and Povidone iodine was applied to disinfect the wounds. Parenteral antimicrobial 20% Oxytetracycline hydrochloride 100ml was injected deep intramuscular as was an anti-inflammatory drug, 5% Flunixin Meglumine 50ml. Green clay was applied to the wounds to aid healing.

The wounds are treated with green clay  The rhino after treatment

Recovery

To reverse the effects of anesthesia Naltrexone Hcl 150mg and Atipamezole Hcl 10mg was injected intravenously through superficial ear veins.

The rhino assisted back to its feet  The rhino has been given a good prognosis

Prognosis

This animal is expected to make a full recovery although he may be pushed out of his territory by other males due to a lack of horn for self defence.

CASE #9: CUTANEOUS FILIARISIS IN A WHITE RHINO

Date: 26th January 2015

Species: White Rhino, name: Bahati (Id.: 70W03)

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Meru national park, rhino sanctuary

History

Rangers on patrol in the rhino sanctuary at MNP reported on the 24th January that this White rhino (Bahati) had wounds on the abdominal flank which required treatment. He had been treated 18 months earlier for ulcerative cutaneous filariasis which had recurred.

Immobilization and physical examination

Darting was done from a helicopter provided by KWS. A combination of Etorphine hydrochloride 6mg and Xylazine hydrochloride 60mg in a single 1.5cc danInject dart was used. The first dart did not discharge and the 2nd dart was given after 20 minutes. The rhino went down 5 minutes after the 2nd dart.

The helicopter used for darting  The rhino is darted successfully

    

Butorphanol tartate 40mg was also injected intravenously through the ear vein to stabilize the immobilized rhino.

Examination showed an expansive circular wound 10cm in diameter on the left ventral abdominal flank. Scar tissue formation was seen, lesion seemed to be healing.

The rhino has a nasty parasitic infection  Other monitoring data is also collected

The dead tissue was debrided by washing with hydrogen peroxide and scrubbing followed by topical application of Iodine. Ivermectin 150mg was then injected subcutaneously as was 20% Alamycin LA 100ml intramuscularly.

The wound is treated  Green clay is applied to facilitate healing

Recovery

To reverse the effects of anesthesia Naltrexone Hcl 150mg and Atipamezole Hcl 10mg was injected intravenously through superficial ear veins. This animal is expected to make a full recovery within 2 weeks of ivermectin treatment as observed previously in similar cases.

The rhino is assisted to get back up  The rhino is given a good prognosis

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