FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2015
Reported By Jeremiah Poghon
June was a relatively calm month similar to the month of May. Cases handled included treatment and repeat treatment of a former elephant orphan at Ithumba stockades, treatment of a buffalo bull with fetlock arthritis of the foot in Salt Lick sanctuary, examination of an injured elephant bull and rescue of an elephant calf that fell into a water hole at Tsavo East pipeline area.
CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT WITH AN ARROW WOUND
Date: 5th June 2015
Age: Sub Adult
Location: Ithumba Elephant Stockade
This partially independent elephant orphan was escorted back to the stockade by two former orphans with a deep penetrating wound to the rib cage and another near the spinal ridge. The vet team was airlifted to Ithumba by the DSWT pilot and found the elephant restrained in a boma.
Immobilization, examination and treatment
Immobilization was achieved using 12 mgs of Etorphine in a 1.5 cc Dan-inject dart propelled by an air operated Dan inject dart gun and the elephant went down in 6 minutes.
Probing of the wound revealed a deep penetrating wound that went past the rib cage. No foreign body was felt inside but due to the nature of the wound a tentative diagnosis of a penetrating arrow wound was made.
An X- ray machine was requested to ensure there was no foreign body lodged in the lung. Meanwhile the wound was cleaned and long acting Amoxicillin and Dexamethasone were administered intramuscularly and by slow intravenous injection.
A week later the X-ray machine arrived as well as a metal detector but nothing was revealed inside the elephant. A repeat treatment was done and so far the elephant is progressing well.
CASE#2 EXAMINATION OF AN ELEPHANT
Date: 17th June 2015
Location: Tsavo East Park HQ
DSWT desnaring teams based at Voi reported an elephant bull with what appeared to be a swelling and pus oozing from a small wound to the abdominal wall. The vet team rushed to the location and found the elephant foraging and a closer look revealed an old arrow wound that was in the process of healing and didn’t warrant elephant immobilization as it would finally heal on its own. Monitoring was advised as the bull is a resident of the area.
CASE#3 TREATMENT OF A LAME BUFFALO
Date: 20th June 2015
Location: Salt Lick Sanctuary
A report was made to the unit by rangers from Taita salt lick sanctuary team of a lame buffalo near the hotel compound. The team rushed in to find the massive bull lying down in tall grass.
Immobilization, examination and treatment
Immobilization was achieved using 8mg Etorphine and 60 mgs of Xylazine in a 1.5 ml Dan - inject dart from a vehicle with a Dan inject dart rifle. The Buffalo was immobilized after 7 minutes and topped up with 2 mgs Etorphine as the initial immobilization was not enough.
The front limb fetlock joint was swollen and warm to the touch. No wound was seen to the leg so a tentative diagnosis of fetlock joint inflammation was given. Long acting Amoxicillin and Dexamethasone were administered parenterally.
The anesthetic was reversed using Diprenorphine at 3 times the Etorphine dose mixed with 0.5 cc Atipemazole administered intravenously.
Prognosis is good.
CASE#4 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF
Date: 27th June 2015
Location: Voi, Tsavo East
A temporary water hole was created by leakages along the Mzima-Mombasa water pipeline that was subsequently made deeper by elephants digging activity at the site. It provides water for elephants staying near the park headquarters during the dry season when most of the water holes are dry. Visitors to the area reported an elephant calf that was struggling to climb over the walls.
The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the location to find the calf stuck in the water hole with the mother trying to extract it.
The herd was pushed away and the calf rescued and re united with his family.
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. We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Assistant director Tsavo conservation area and the head, veterinary and capture services department for their contribution.