THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - September 2016

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MONTHLY FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR MASAI MARA CONSERVATION AREASEPTEMBER 2016

By Dr. Campaign Limo

Introduction

The Month under review had a few small showers at the beginning which intensified towards the end but on average, it was dry. Most wildlife, particularly elephants, have moved out of the reserve into community areas and private conservancies. This has resulted into some conflict incidences with at least one elephant calf succumbing to multiple spear wounds. The rest of the elephant herd that was trapped during this encounter finally managed to find their way back to the Conservancies and Reserve, some with injuries. One female was traced to Olesukut conservancy where she was treated for a spear wound.

The following are cases that were handled during the month;

CASE#1 EXAMINATION OF A SPEARED ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 9th September 2016

Species: African elephant

Age: Calf

Sex: Female

Location: Emarti (Trans Mara)

History

This baby elephant was among a herd that crossed Mara River into farmlands in Trans Mara with the local community resorting to attacking them. The Mara Elephant Project Team and KWS Rangers were on the ground trying to push the elephants back to nearby conservancies and unfortunately this calf had been fatally speared.

General observation

This baby elephant was in good body condition though still suckling. She lay on her side with multiple deep spear wounds evident in most parts of her body.

There was severe bleeding and at least one penetrating wound into her thorax with damage to the lungs and heart by the offending spear. This caused instant death.

The KWS security team and Mara Elephant Project team guarded the remaining herd and pushed them out of the community areas and into the conservancies at night.

CASE#2 INJURED LIONESS

Date: 10th September 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Female

Age: Adult (13 years)

Location: Talek (Masai Mara National Reserve)

History

This lion was in a group of six composed of two males and four females and reported to us by the Masai Mara Reserve warden in charge of Talek sector. They had killed a buffalo and appeared to be harbouring some injuries.

General observation

She was seen near a small river under a shade with the other female pride members. The males were a few meters away. She had visible injuries to the hind legs and a small swelling on the belly, specifically at the umbilicus.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

She was chemically restrained by use of a combination of 4.8mgs Medetomidine and 240mgs Ketamine delivered using the Dan-Inject Dart system from a vehicle. She became fully anaesthetised after ten minutes. Cloxacillin eye ointment was applied to both eyes and a blindfold put in place. The rest of the pride members took off as soon as the drugs took effect. She appeared to be in good condition and had recently fed.

This lioness was seen with her pride  She had injuries from a buffalo kill that needed treatment

Examination revealed she had bite injuries from a fight with other lions. The wounds were debrided with dilute Hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with clean water and wiped dry with gauze swab. The wounds were then disinfected with tincture of iodine and topical Oxytetracycline spray applied.

As for the swelling on the umbilicus, closer examination, which included palpation and careful aspiration revealed this was a long standing umbilical hernia she grew up with. It was thought to be inconsequential with no need to repair considering the age and the good health this lioness displayed even with this condition.

She also had a small swelling at her umbilicus   She was treated for the buffalo wounds

Additional treatment included parenteral administration of 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 16mgs dexamethasone sodium anti-inflammatory.

Reversal

Reversal of anaesthetic was achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs Atepamezole hydrochloride one hour after immobilization. She woke up after eight minutes and joined the other members of the pride.

The lioness moves off to join her pride

Prognosis

Good.

CASE#3 RESCUE OF A BUFFALO

Date: 12th September 2016

Species: Buffalo

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: KWS research station (Mara)

History

This old male is a member of a bachelor herd consisting of four old males that have stayed around the research station for a couple of years now. He was found in the mid-morning of this date struggling to get out of a small muddy pool he had wallowed in. After several attempts, he became fatigued and could not get himself out of the mud.

An elderly buffalo can not exit the mud hole by itself  The vet team assist the buffalo using a vehicle

He was eventually roped and pulled out of the mud and after resting for few minutes, he got up and began grazing.

This buffalo is getting old and may not be able to stand challenges in the wild for long.

This buffalo is getting old so may not survive

CASE#4 TREATMENT OF A SPEARED ELEPHANT

Date: 16th September 2016

Species: African elephant

Age: Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Olesukut conservancy

History

This elephant, nursing a two year old calf, was seen in a herd of about 20 elephants by the Olesukut conservancy management. She had a spear wound to her right thoracic area slightly behind and below her right shoulder and thought to be one of the herds recently harassed after crossing to Emarti farmlands. The management sought our services to treat this elephant. She was in a rocky place with some thicket.

After careful consideration helicopter services were utilised for darting and guiding her out of the thicket.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 15mgs Etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 3ml dan-inject dart from a helicopter. She was then guided out of a thicket to open ground for easy access for treatment. Drug induction time was 10 minutes and she assumed right lateral recumbency. She had to be flipped over for the attending team to access the injury.

An elephant is seen with a spear injury  The vet probes the wound

Examination revealed a less than one week old wound below and behind her right shoulder most likely caused by spearing. The wound was dorso-ventrally directed but did not penetrate the ribcage. The offending spear had only partially split some external thoracic muscles. The wound was debrided with Hydrogen peroxide, flushed with clean water and irrigated with tincture of iodine. Green clay was then packed into the wound. Other treatments include intramuscular administration of 30000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs Flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Green clay is packed into the wound  Antiseptic is also applied

Reversal

Reversal of anaesthetic was achieved by intravenous administration of 30mgs Diprenorphine hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. She woke up after four minutes to join the rest of the herd.

The anaesthetic is reversed   The elephant gets up after treatment

Prognosis

This elephant is expected to make full recovery.

CASE#5 TREATMENT OF A SNARED GIRAFFE

Date: 16th September 2016

Species: Maasai giraffe

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Olesukut conservancy

History

This giraffe was spotted by the Conservancy Rangers as they were checking on the injured elephant. She was treated soon after the elephant case was handled. This giraffe was in company of ten giraffes browsing within the Conservancy. She was limping on her left front leg. A wire snare was visibly tight round her left front limb between the shoulder and knee.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of combination of 12mgs Etorphine hydrochloride and 60mgs Azaperone delivered in a 3ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. It took eight minutes for the drugs to take full effect and this giraffe assisted to the ground with the help of ropes.

Examination revealed a tight plain wire snare which had eaten into the muscular tissues of the leg. The wire was removed leaving an open wound. This wound had been infested with maggots and appeared septic. All the maggots were removed manually and necrotic tissue debrided with the help of Hydrogen peroxide. Copious amount of water was used to rinse this wound before tincture of iodine was applied. Green clay was then packed into the wound to promote quick healing.

A snared giraffe is treated  The giraffe is roped and the snare removed

Other treatments instituted include intramuscular administration of 7500mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 1500mgs Flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory. To get rid of maggot re-infestation, she was given 200mgs Ivermectin parasiticide subcutaneously.

Reversal

This was achieved by intravenous administration of 24mgs Diprenorphine hydrochloride through the jugular vein. She woke up immediately to join the rest of the herd.

The resultant wound is treated  The giraffe runs away following treatment

Prognosis

Good.

CASE#6 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED LION

Date: 17th September 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Mara plains (near Toto Camp)

History

This lion was seen injured and reported to us for attention by the Masai Mara Reserve Warden in charge of Olkiombo sector. He was found resting under a tree with his brother watching close by. He had multiple bite wounds thought to have been caused while defending their territory from other intruding lions. When agitated to move, he did so with pain and difficulty.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 6mgs Medetomidine hydrochloride and 260mgs Ketamine hydrochloride in a 3ml daninject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle with the drugs taking full effect in ten minutes. He was pulled to a shade before commencement of treatment.

A lion is darted for treatment  The vet team at work

He had multiple bite wounds inflicted by other lions that appeared deep with a big haematoma that was evacuated behind his left shoulder. All the wounds were debrided with Hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with clean water and disinfected with tincture of iodine. Cloxacillin ointment was also infused and topical Oxytetracycline spray applied.

The lions wounds are treated  The multiple bite wounds are stitched

He was also given 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 16mgs Dexamethasone sodium anti-inflammatory intramuscularly.

Reversal

Reverasl of the anaesthetic was achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs Atepamezole hydrochloride one hour after immobilization. He woke up in seven minutes to join his brother.

The anaesthetic is reversed   The lion recovers and moves off

Prognosis

Good

CASE#7 POST MORTEM OF A LIONESS

Date: 26th September 2016

Species: African lion

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Olare Motorogi conservancy.

History

This lioness was seen emaciated and frail by Olare Motorogi Conservancy Management together with Mara Lion Project team. They called the veterinary unit for assessment and treatment. However, the lioness died when the team was on their way to help.

This lioness carcass was examined to determine cause of death  This lioness carcass was examined to determine cause of death

General observation of the carcass

The following were general findings of the carcass.

  • This lion died with her head submerged in a river.
  • She was severely emaciated with body score of 2 in a scale of 1-5 where 1 is poor and 5 good.
  • There was no evidence of struggle before death and she appeared to have slid into the water upon death.
  • No external injury could be seen on the carcass.

On opening the carcass, the following findings were noted,

  1. The trachea was frothy with the froth descending all the way to the lungs
  2. The heart muscles had hypertrophied with the chambers almost becoming occluded because of muscular thickening
  3. Liver and other abdominal organs were found to be sound.
  4. It was noted that it was a while since this lioness fed
  5. Discernible gross pathological changes were observed in both lungs with the left lung showing severe pathological changes appearing atrophied and very compact. It was hard and firm on palpation with a lot of frothy stuff oozing on slicing. The lung also appeared tough with a lot of fibrous tissue in the lung parenchyma. The right lung showed similar changes but of lesser degree

Conclusion

This lioness died of chronic form of interstitial pneumonia with the attendant pathological changes including those found in the heart associated with this condition.

Conclusion

The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit would like to thank all the stakeholders who assisted in many ways in veterinary interventions carried out during the month. Thanks to Minara foundation through the DSWT for their continuous facilitation to the unit. Thanks to KWS management for their technical support to the unit. All your efforts have contributed immensely to success of the unit.

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