THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - April 2016

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR MASAI MARA CONSERVATION AREA-APRIL 2016

Reported by Dr. Campaign Limo

Introduction

The month was characterized by early periods of intense precipitation which diminished gradually towards the mid of the month and finally picking up in the last week of the month. Due to abundance of food and water for the grazers and browsers, conflict cases as a result of competition for resources with the locals have drastically reduced. As such the number of clinical interventions carried out over the month were few.

The following are the cases that were handled during the month of April

CASE #1 ASSESSMENT OF A LION CUB

Date: 11th April 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: 2 months

Location: Keekorok area

History

Reports reaching the mobile veterinary unit from some tour guides and management of Masai Mara National Reserve indicated that a lion cub from a pride near Keekorok airstrip had strayed away from his mother and the rest of the pride. There were concerns that this cub could be having visual impairment as he wandered towards one of the tour guide’s van away from his mother. The mobile vet unit responded to confirm the condition of the cub and to decide on the way forward.

General observation and way forward

We found the pride under a tree near the road relaxing after a recent meal. This was a pride of close to twenty lions composed of cubs of various ages. The smallest was about two months old and was the one described as having strayed. He had gone back to her mother, lied briefly on her side before moving ahead to suckle. Closer examination with binoculars showed that there was no problem with his eyes and was just behaving normally. There was no evidence of visual impairment as described. This innocent lion cub due to curiosity and excitement had wandered to the van which had pulled close to the pride and is a phenomenon common with small lion cubs.

Observing the lions cubs eyes  The cub went back to suckling

This was explained to the Masai Mara National Reserve management and the tour guide while the pride was left to relax peacefully.

 

CASE #2 TREATMENT OF A LION

Date: 11th April 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Look out area (Masai Mara National Reserve)

History

This male lion, a member of Notch pride occupying lookout area within the reserve was seen by a visiting tourist who had developed interest in following this pride over some years. He reported seeing this male with lesions on his abdomen resembling those caused by mange. The vet unit responded and traced this pride to a hideout not far from look out.

General observation

This big male was found in company of two others thought to be his brothers lying under a shade. When he stood up, a clear patch extending to either side of his flanks from the belly could be seen. The areas appeared alopecic and somehow discoloured.

The lion was found with his two brothers  Mange pattern visible on his fur

Apart from this, he had injuries on his back and left forelimb suspected to have been caused by warthog tusk. They had killed a warthog the previous day.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 6mg medetomidine hydrochloride and 400mgs ketamine hydrochloride delivered in a 3ml Dan inject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle. He remained calm after darting before the drugs taking full effect in seven minutes. The two brothers were scared away to give room for him to be attended to. They were in good condition though. Examination revealed an alopecic patch extending from his belly on either side of his abdomen towards the flanks. This appeared to be mange infestation. Additional injuries were seen on his left forelimb and dorsally on his back that appeared to have been caused by warthog tusk as they wrestled one down.

Lion was darted for examination  He also had injuries most likely from warthog tusks

All the wounds were debrided with hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with water and wiped dry with sterile gauze. Tincture of iodine and oxytetracycline spray were then applied. Additional treatment included parenteral administration of 3000mgs amoxicillin antibiotics.

Antibiotics were administered   His overall health and condition were checked

As for the mange infestation, he received 100mgs of ivermectin parasiticide subcutaneously. Skin scrubbings for microscopy were also collected.

Reversal

Achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs atepamezole hydrochloride one hour after immobilization. He woke up within eight minutes to join his brothers.

Reversing the anaesthetic   The lion recovering from his treatment

Prognosis

Good

 

CASE #3 INJURED LION AT DOUBLE CROSS

Date: 12th April 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Double Cross (Masai Mara National Reserve)

History

This very old male was seen emaciated with swollen face by the MasaiMara National Reserve security personnel. The warden in charge of Talek sector called asking for help for this lion.

General observation

This male was found alone lying in a small bush, emaciated and in pain. His face bore fight wound injuries and purulent stuff was drooling from his mouth.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

He was immobilized by use of a combination of 4mgs medetomidine hydrochloride and 250mgs ketamine hydrochloride delivered in a 3ml Dan inject dart.Darting was done from a vehicle. It took eight minutes for the drugs to take full effect upon where he was carried out from the thicket to an open place for treatment.

The lion was darted for examination and treatment   He was obviously injured and emaciated

Examination revealed he had picked a fight probably in territorial conflicts with other males sustaining several injuries. The wounds were septic with maggots infesting which were manually removed. The distal part of the tail had to be amputated as it was getting necrotic. Examination of the oral cavity revealed injured tongue, with several teeth missing. Almost all the incisors were worn off. Three of the four canine teeth were missing with the only remaining being severely degraded and infected. There was evidence of advanced degree of degradation of the other teeth. All these were attributed to geriatric changes as this lion appeared old.

Teeth were worn down  The end of his tail had to be amputated

All wounds were debrided with hydrogen peroxide, wiped clean and rinsed with clean water. Tincture of iodine was applied and cloxacillin ointment infused. The pus in the buccal cavity was drained. The injured tongue was also cleaned. Very dilute hydrogen peroxide was carefully used to lavage the oral cavity to clear as much purulent stuff as possible.

All his wounds were cleaned and treated  Antibiotics were administered

Additional treatment included intramuscular administration of 3000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 100mgs ivermectin delivered subcutaneously to get rid of internal and external parasites.

Reversal

This was achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs atepamezole hydrochloride one hour after immobilization. He woke up after four minutes, sat for a while before drifting back into the small thicket.

Reversing the anaesthetic after treatment

Prognosis

Fair - with advanced age and worn out teeth, this lion will find it hard to hunt overtime and might not survive for long.

The lion recovering   The prognosis remains fair

 

CASE #4 INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 15th April 2016

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Young adult

Location: Mara Bush Tops

History

This elephant was seen in a group of about twenty elephants with an injury by Mara Bush Tops and KWS patrol teams. They informed the unit for attention.

General observation

This elephant was in a big herd comprising of several families. A whitish purulent stuff could be seen oozing from a septic wound on his right flank. He had not lost his body condition though.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 12mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered in a 1.5ml daninject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle. He remained calm after darting before giving in to effects of drugs after seven minutes. He assumed left lateral recumbency affording us good opportunity to examine the injured side.

Examination revealed a penetrating wound about one week old which was already septic and oozing pus. The wound was about half inch in diameter and seven inches deep most likely caused by an arrow.

Examining the site of the wound  The wound most likely caused by an arrow

Luckily it did not penetrate the abdominal muscles into peritoneum. Thorough probing of the wound was done and no foreign body found. The offending object could have since fallen. The wound was lavaged with hydrogen peroxide to remove as much dead tissue as possible, rinsed with clean water and tincture of iodine applied.

The wound was cleaned of necrotic tissue  Rinsed with clean water and tincture of iodine

Green clay was then packed to absorb toxins and hasten healing process. Additionally, this elephant received 15000mgs amoxicillin antibiotics and 2000mgs Flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory all delivered intramuscularly.

Green clay packed in the wound  Final dressing to the wound

Administering antibiotics  Reversing the anaesthetic

Reversal

Achieved by administration of 36mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride intravenously through an ear vein. He woke up in three minutes to join the rest of the herd.

The elephant woke in 3 minutes  Successfully walking away after treatment

Prognosis

Good

 

CASE #5 INJURED MALE GIRAFFE

Date: 21st April 2016

Species: Masai giraffe

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Olare Motorogi Conservancy

History

This mature bull was seen lying on the ground with both hind legs apart and unable to stand by Olare Motorogi security team. They reported this to the unit for assistance.

General observation and way forward

This giraffe was found on sternal recumbency both hind legs apart and struggling to stand. There was evidence he had struggled for a while and had splayed while crossing a steep trench. An attempt to adduct the hind legs and help him up by pulling was fruitless as every time he struggled the hind legs splayed. The posture he adopted indicated damage to both hip joints when he skidded trying to cross the trench. Several attempts were made to bring him up but all in vain. Both joints were considered damaged and could not support this massive bull.

The bull was found by Olare Motorogi security team unable to stand  There appeared to be damage to both hip joints

After carefully assessing the situation, it was decided that his further suffering be stopped. Euthanasia was advised and effected immediately.

Several attempts made to help him stand

Post mortem conducted thereafter confirmed damage of both hip joints with femoral heads partially out of there sockets and severe damage of pelvic ligaments.

Post mortem confirmed both hip joints were damaged

Conclusion

The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit would wish to thank all those who contributed in one way or another towards rescue and interventions carried out in the conservation area during the month. Many thanks to KWS management and Minara foundation through David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their partnership which has resulted in many rescues and interventions of injured and abandoned wildlife species.

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