THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - July 2015

| Return to the Field Report List | View Printable Report |

EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT JULY 2015

Report by: Bernard Rono

SUMMARY

This report describes activities of the Meru veterinary unit in July 2015.

An outbreak of anthrax in wildlife in Lake Nakuru national park which caused a threat to populations of endangered species such as rhino and Rothschild giraffe was controlled through vaccination, proper carcass disposal and disinfection. In Samburu national reserve a Grevys zebra was treated for injuries sustained in a predator attack. Other cases are described in the following report.

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED GREVYS’ ZEBRA

Date: 11th July 2015

Species: Grevy’s Zebra

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Samburu National Reserve

History

Rangers from Samburu national reserve (SNR) reported a Grevys zebra which had sustained injuries during a lion attack. This zebra showed severe lameness of the right hind leg. When the team visited the reserve the zebra was at the Oryx airstrip which provided an ideal ground for darting and treatment of wounds.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A combination of 7mg M99 and 80mg Xylazine Hcl delivered in a 1.5 cc dart was used for immobilization. The first dart failed to discharge but the zebra went down 12 minutes after the second dart which was injected in the gluteal muscles. A blind fold was fitted and the zebra positioned on lateral recumbency for examination.

A zebra was seen with an injury in Samburu  The wounds were likely caused by a lion attack

There were penetrating bite wounds to the dorsal muscles at the sacrum, a circular degloving wound at the right stifle area with loss of skin and penetrating bite wounds into the stifle joint causing severe lameness. All these wounds were contaminated.

The wounds were cleaned throughly with water  Antiseptic spray was applied and antibiotics adminstered

The wounds were cleaned using water and Povidone Iodine and debrided using dilute Hydrogen Peroxide. A long acting antibiotic and the analgesic, Flunixin meglumine, were also administered.

Prognosis

Prognosis for recovery is guarded due to risk of stifle joint infection.

CASE#2 POST MORTEM EXAMINATION OF A WHITE RHINO

Date: 12th July 2015

Species: White Rhino

Sex: Male

Age: Adult >30 years

Location: Meru National Park

History

This white rhino was found dead by rangers on patrol. It had no recent history of illness. A post mortem examination was conducted on site to determine the cause of death.

General examination

Observation of the carcass showed that this rhino though old was in good body condition, however, there was blood oozing from the left nostril. On opening this carcass there was evidence of a heavy infestation of round worms and tape worms. No other significant findings were recorded.

A rhino carcass was found  The rhino presumably died from natural causes

Tissue samples were collected for RHODIS rhino database while both horns were retrieved and kept in custody by the area company commander.

Conclusion

The immediate cause of death could not be determined conclusively but it was attributed to natural illness. 

CASE#3 ANTHRAX IN WILDLIFE IN LAKE NAKURU NATIONAL PARK

The veterinarian in charge of Meru MVU was invited to provide technical support in control of an anthrax epidemic in Lake Nakuru national park (LNNP) on 17th – 24th July 2015. Laboratory results had confirmed by microscopy Bacillus anthracis, the causative bacteria for anthrax in stained blood smear samples from carcasses of four buffalo and two rhino.

Dozens of buffalo were suspected to have died of the disease which was a serious concern because this contaminates soil and pasture and could spread the disease to other endangered species in the park. Other species affected in this outbreak were Impala, Rothschild giraffe and eland.

However, this disease which can be transmitted from animals to human beings by contact, ingestion or inhalation of anthrax bacteria spores is a low risk for visitors in the park because many buffalos had died far from access roads frequented by visitors.

Anthrax spores can remain inactive in the soil for several years but will proliferate in contaminated pasture when suitable factors such as flooding followed by prolonged dry conditions are present. The following control measures were taken to reduce bacterial load in the environment and to reduce risk of future outbreaks of the disease:

  • Proper carcass disposal by incineration and burying
  • Disinfection of carcass sites using 10% Formaldehyde and Calcium bicarbonate
  • Vaccination of rhino and Rothschild giraffe which are endangered species to prevent disease in this species

Efforts to clean up the environment are in progress whereas the disease is now under control with a lower mortality rate recorded in the past one week.

CASE#4 INJURED COMMON ZEBRA

Date: 22nd July 2015

Species: Common Zebra

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Meru National Park

History

This injured zebra was seen during a routine patrol in Meru national park. It suffered a degloving wound on its left hind quarters suspected to have been caused in a lion attack. This herd of zebra was very shy and attempts to dart it for treatment were unsuccessful due to long flight distance.

A zebra is seen with an injury but avoided the team

CASE#5 ASSESSMENT OF AN ELEPHANT

Date: 26th July 2015

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult >30 years

Location: Mpala Ranch, Laikipia

History

Game scouts from Mpala ranch and the Samburu Trust reported that this bull had suffered severe leg carrying lameness for 7 days. The team visited the ranch to examine and treat this elephant.\

Assessment

This elephant was found on the south eastern border of Mpala ranch after a brief search. A quick observation showed severe lameness of its left hind leg. It was obviously in great pain and could hobble around on three legs. A dislocation on its left pelvic joint was suspected as the cause of lameness. The team recommended close monitoring of this elephant.

Prognosis

When the team visited the ranch on the 30th July for a review, this elephant had shown great improvement and could now step on the injured leg. Again no treatment was attempted because immobilization would have exacerbated its injuries. This elephant is on a slow path to recovery.

CASE#6 TREATMENT OF A TRACKER DOG

Date: 27th July 2015

Species: Canine

Name: Sniper; Breed: Dutch shepherd

Sex: Male

Age: Sub Adult – 24 months

Location: Meru National Park

History

This tracker dog in Meru national park was reported to have shown mild lameness after a routine exercise on 27/7/2015. An examination of its right hind paw showed a puncture wound caused by a foreign body.

Treatment

For treatment the wounds were cleaned with water and Povidone Iodine to prevent infection. Daily treatment for 3 days was recommended.

A tracker dog is treated for a paw injury  The wound is cleaned and repeat treatment recommended

Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge financial support provided by the David Sheldrick wildlife Trust to facilitate treatment of injured wildlife and reduce suffering in wildlife. 

| Return to the Field Report List | View Printable Report


Team Reports:

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust   P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya

Copyright 1999-2017, The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy