THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - May 2017

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EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT MAY 2017

Report by: Bernard Rono

Summary

This report describes the activities of the Meru veterinary unit in northern Kenya in May 2017.

The Vet Unit attended to three snare removal cases, two elephants and one zebra, an elephant with a gunshot injury likely caused by the increased human wildlife conflict in the area as well as two rhino cases.

The Meru veterinary unit is supported by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to provide veterinary care in northern Kenya.

CASE#1 SNARE REMOVAL ON AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 10th May 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age:  18 months old

Location: El Karama ranch

History

Wildlife scouts in El Karama Ranch reported an elephant calf in a herd of 15 elephants that had a snare attached to its leg causing severe wounds. The calf showed lameness of the right front leg.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The mother was darted so that the calf could safely be captured and the snare removed. The mother was immobilized using Etorphine hydrochloride delivered in a 1.5 cc Dan-Inject dart from a vehicle and the drug took effect after 6 minutes. An initial attempt to capture the calf with ropes failed so it was also darted using Etorphine hydrochloride.

A young elephant is seen with a snare injury  The snare has caused a deep wound

Examination of the injured right leg showed severe swelling distal to the hock joint and septic wounds caused by a plain wire snare. The snare was cut using a wire cutter and gently removed while the wounds were washed and debrided with hydrogen peroxide. Povidone iodine and green clay were applied topically to the resulting wounds. An antibiotic and corticosteroid was also given intramuscularly.

The vet unit remove the snare and clean the wound  The snare that was removed

Reversal and Prognosis

The anesthesia for both mother and calf was reversed using Naltrexone hydrochloride. Although we were unable to immediately reunite the mother and calf, the calf was reported to have joined the rest of the herd later that evening. We are confident that this calf will recover from these injuries.

The elephant is revived after treatment  The calf is reunited with its family

CASE#2 SNARE REMOVAL ON A GREVYS ZEBRA

Date: 11th May 2017

Species: Grevys zebra

Sex: Female

Age:  Adult

Location: Loisaba Conservancy

History

Wildlife scouts from Samburu Trust reported that a Grevys zebra had suffered serious wounds caused by a wire snare attached to its left hind leg.

The zebra is darted for treatment  The snare around the zebras leg

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using a combination of Etorphine hydrochloride and Azaperone tartate from a vehicle using a Dan-Inject dart placed into the gluteal muscles. Down time was 6 minutes.

The snare has made a nasty injury  The snare is removed

The snare was cut using a wire cutter and removed. Examination showed septic wounds affecting the soft tissue of the metatarsal and fetlock joint. Treatment was by debridement of necrotic tissue using hydrogen peroxide and application of tincture of iodine. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs were injected intramuscularly.

The snare after removal from the zebras leg  The wound is cleaned and treated

Reversal and Prognosis

The anesthesia was completely reversed by intravenous injection of Naltrexone hydrochloride. The zebra was reported to have shown progressive improvement one week after this treatment and was on its way to full recovery.

The zebra gets up following treatment

CASE#3 GUNSHOT INJURY IN AN ELEPHANT

Date: 11th May 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age:  12 years

Location: Samburu National reserve (SNR)

History

On 11/05/17 researchers from Save the Elephants reported that an elephant in SNR had a swollen right fore limb caused by suspected gunshot injury. In the recent past the area has recorded an increase in gunshot injuries particularly in elephants. This is as a result of human wildlife conflict and livestock incursion into the reserve (SNR).

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using Etorphine hydrochloride in a 1.5ml Dan-Inject dart from a vehicle. After 6 minutes the elephant fell onto right lateral recumbence. To examine its leg, the Vet Team rolled the elephant onto the left side using ropes.

After 6 minutes the elephant fell onto right lateral recumbence  The vet team get to work

Examination of the leg showed a penetrating wound to the elbow joint caused by a bullet. The elbow joint was swollen, however no fracture was felt when the leg was manipulated. The septic wounds were washed with water, flushed with hydrogen peroxide and infused with povidone iodine. Antibiotics and anti inflammatory drugs were given intramuscularly to prevent septicemia.

Examination of the leg showed a penetrating wound to the elbow  This was likely caused by a bullet

Reversal

The anesthetic was reversed by giving Diprenophine hydrochloride intravenously through the ear veins. The elephant was in standing position within two minutes. Prognosis for recovery is guarded as there is considerable risk of the infection spreading into the elbow joint and bone. 

The elephant was in standing position within two minutes  Prognosis for recovery is guarded as there is considerable risk of the infection

CASE#4 OVERGROWN HOOVES IN A BONGO

Date: 12TH May 2017

Species: Mountain bongo

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Mount Kenya game ranch (MKGR) 

Treatment

A bongo in Mount Kenya Game ranch was darted to trim overgrown hooves. Immobilization was achieved using a combination of Etorphine hydrochloride and Azaperone. After the procedure anesthesia was reversed using Naltrexone hydrochloride.

A bongo in Mount Kenya Game ranch was darted to trim overgrown hooves  A bongo in Mount Kenya Game ranch was darted to trim overgrown hooves

A bongo in Mount Kenya Game ranch was darted to trim overgrown hooves  A bongo in Mount Kenya Game ranch was darted to trim overgrown hooves

CASE#5 A CASE OF A RHINO ATTACKED BY LIONS AT OL PEJETA CONSERVANCY

Date: 16th May 2017

Species: Black rhino

Age: 5 years

Sex: Male

Location: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

History

This young male rhino was reported to have been attacked by four lions in the early hours of Tuesday the 16th May. After locating the rhino the following was observed.

  • There were fresh wounds on the back and hind quarters.
  • The rhino had an open fresh wound close to the hock joint which caused weight shifting lameness.

Immobilization was deemed necessary to get a closer examination to establish the extent of the damage.

This young male rhino was reported to have been attacked by four lions  There were fresh wounds on the back and hind quarters

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The rhino was darted at 0809 hrs using a cocktail of Etorphine 5mg and Azaperone 80mg and went down on lateral recumbency after two minutes. The rhino was put on sternal recumbency and 10 mg of Butorphanol tartarate were administered to improve the quality of anesthesia.

There was a large fresh avulsion wound on the dorsal midline over the lumbo- sacral area and the coccygeal vertebrae were fractured midway through the tail. The wound depth was assessed to be at the level of the transverse processes with no injury to the spine. In addition to the lacerations on the back and hind quarters, the right hind limb was slightly swollen at the level of the hock joint with a penetrating wound medial to the joint. On manipulation of the hock joint no involvement or damage was established.

an open fresh wound close to the hock joint  he wounds were cleaned and flushed with hydrogen peroxide and povidone iodine

The wounds were cleaned and flushed with hydrogen peroxide and povidone iodine. The dead space in the wounds on the dorsum and right hind limb were filled with green clay and opticlox to reduce chances of infection. The tail was amputated at the level of the fracture.

Additionally the rhino was given, 22,500 mg of long acting Amoxicillin Trihydrate and 100mg of Dexamethasone intramuscularly and 300 mg ivermectin subcutaneously

Reversal and Prognosis

The anesthesia was smooth with no complications and the vital parameters remained within the normal range. The anesthesia was reversed at 0830 using Diprenophine hydrochloride 15mg administered intravenously through the ear vein and the rhino was up 3 minutes later. Prognosis is good- if the infection in the wounds on the right hind limb and dorsum does not spread to the hock joint and spine respectively.

The anesthesia was smooth with no complications  Prognosis is good

CASE#6 SNARE REMOVAL IN AN ELEPHANT IN OL JOGI RANCH

Date: 16/05/17

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age:  Adult

Location: Ol Jogi Ranch

History

Wildlife scouts from the neighbouring El Karama Ranch reported that an elephant with a loose snare on its leg had crossed the fence into Ol Jogi ranch. The Vet Unit located the elephant which was in a herd of 12 elephants with the help of rangers and immobilized it to remove the snare.

Case Management

The elephant was darted at 5pm using Etorphine hydrochloride. It was down in nine minutes and surrounded by its herd mates which were driven away by a vehicle. This elephant had fallen into a ditch and an attempt to pull it out using ropes and a vehicle was not successful. Anesthesia was immediately reversed and the elephant pulled itself out of the ditch. This case will be revisited when the elephant is located.

It was down in nine minutes and surrounded by its herd mates which were driven away by a vehicle  Anesthesia was immediately reversed and the elephant pulled itself out of the ditch

  

CASE#7 BILATERAL BLINDNESS IN A BLACK RHINO

Date: 22/05/17

Species: Black rhino

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Ol Pejeta conservancy (OPC)

History

The rhino monitoring team in OPC requested for a veterinary assessment of a male black rhino which was suspected to be blind. On observation this animal walked into bushes/ trees and showed a high stepping gait and was reluctant to move when approached.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using a combination of Etorphine 5mg and Azaperone 80mg in a 1.5ml dart. The first dart failed to discharge, while the second dart was effective after 8 minutes. Butorphanol 10mg was injected intravenously when the rhino was recumbent.

A veterinary assessment of a male black rhino which was suspected to be blind  A veterinary assessment of a male black rhino which was suspected to be blind

A general examination showed lacerations to the face and neck suspected to have been caused by a fight. Examination of the right eye showed swollen eyelids, hemorrhages on the conjunctiva and a ruptured globe. The left eye showed opacity of the lens caused by cataract. Bilateral blindness was diagnosed.

The left eye showed opacity of the lens caused by cataract  The vet team attending to the rhino

The right eye was washed with water to remove foreign body debris. A sub-conjuctival injection of Betamox/Dexamethasone and intramuscular injection of Betamox trihydrate was administered.

The wounds were likely caused during a territorial fight  The vet team attending to the rhino

This black rhino was subsequently relocated to an enclosure within the conservancy for its safety and to enable closer monitoring.

This black rhino was subsequently relocated to an enclosure  This black rhino was subsequently relocated to an enclosure

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