THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - September 2017

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Introduction

The month was characterised by increased precipitation with adequate forage for browsing and grazing species to utilise. Water is also adequately available for all animals to use. Most elephants are in the conservancies and community areas while the migratory wildebeests occupy most parts of the reserve. Human-wildlife conflict cases are still being recorded with an elephant being treated for a spear injury and arrowheads being retrieved from an elephant and a zebra foal.

The following were cases handled during the month;

1. TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT BULL

Date: 6th September 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Olarro conservancy (Ngeneji area)

History

This elephant was seen with a large herd browsing within the conservancy. It was reported that this big herd had recently come to the conservancy. The conservancy management noticed he was walking with a limp and called the veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This bull was seen browsing with a big herd within the conservancy. He was in good body condition though with a small swelling on the inner side of his left thigh.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

He was chemically restrained by use of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5mldaninject dart from a vehicle.Induction time was eight minutes and he went down on his left lateral. Examination revealed a swelling on the inner side of his left thigh with a partially healed wound. The wound was opened and further probe revealed a metallic foreign object lodged. This was an arrowhead that had been in place for approximately two weeks.

Inspecting the wound

The arrowhead was gently removed and the resultant wound debrided with hydrogen peroxide. It was rinsed with clean water and disinfected with tincture of iodine. Green clay was then packed. Additional treatments include parenteral administration of 30000mgs amoxicillin antibiotics and 5000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Probing the wound for a foreign body  Wound was rinsed and disinfected

Reversal

Achieved by intravenous administration of 36mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. He woke up to join the rest of the herd in four minutes.

Wound packed with green clay  Bull woke from the treatment and joined the herd

Prognosis

Good

 

2. INJURED ZEBRA FOAL

Date: 7th September 2017

Species: Common zebra

Age: Foal

Sex: Female

Location: Olalaimutiak

History

This zebra foal was seen with an arrow lodged on her right rump by warden in charge of Olalaimutiak sector within Masai Mara National Reserve. He sought our services to intervene.

Zebra foal with her herd and arrow protruding

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of combination of 2mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 20mgs azaperone delivered through a 1.5mldaninjectdart. Darting was done from a vehicle. It took four minutes for the drugs to take full effect. An arrow lodged on his right rump was retrieved.

Inspecting the site of the wound  Removing the arrow

The resultant wound was thoroughly cleaned to remove dead tissues and disinfected with tincture of iodine. She also received intramuscular injection of 750mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 500mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Thoroughly cleaning the wound  Reversing the anesthetic

Reversal

Achieved by intravenous injection of 6mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride through the jugular vein.

Zebra foal returning to her herd

She woke up in two minutes to join her mother.

Prognosis.

Good

 

3. SPEARED ELEPHANT

Date: 7th September 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Naboisho conservancy

History

This big tusker was reported injured by Naboisho conservancy management. The veterinary team responded by visiting for assessment and intervention.

General observation

This bull appeared agitated with a relatively fresh open wound on the lateral side of his front right limb.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved by use of 17mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered in a 3mldaninject dart from a vehicle. It took ten minutes for this elephant to be fully narcotized. He assumed left lateral recumbency at the edge of a bush.

Examination revealed a fresh spear wound on the lateral side of his right front leg likely caused by a spear. Probing of the wound yielded no foreign body but muscles around this area were partially split.

Spear wound in a bull elephant  Probing the wound revealed no foreign object

The wound was debrided and rinsed with clean water. Tincture of iodine was used as a disinfectant before green clay being packed to absorb toxins and hasten healing.Other treatments include parenteral administration of 30000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Tincture of iodine applied to the wound  Wound packed with green clay to absorb toxins and aid healing

Reversal

Achieved by intravenous administration of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride. He rose up after four minutes and retreated into the bush.

Reversing the anesthetic  Bull recovering from anesthetic

Prognosis

Good

 

4. INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 10th September 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Adult (About 50 years old)

Location: Olpopongi (Siana area)

History

This tuskless matriarch was seen in a bad condition by the Elephant Aware and Olarro conservancy team who called the mobile veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This old female with her three calves was seen in poor condition with an old discharging wound on her left flank.

Old female with her three calves

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of 13mgs etorphine hydrochloride, this being approximately ¾ of dose for an adult female owing to her condition. However, she could not be fully narcotized with this dose as she stood still partially anaesthetized. Additional 3mgs etorphine was given remotely through darting. It took another two minutes for the drugs to take full effect and she assumed right lateral recumbency.

Darting the female for treatment

Examination revealed an old septic wound most likely caused by an arrow. Probing revealed no foreign body as the arrow could have since fallen. The wound was cleaned and debrided with the help of hydrogen peroxide. It was disinfected with tincture of iodine before green clay being packed to absorb toxins and hasten healing.

Inspecting the wound on her side  Site of the wound

This old female in addition received intramuscular injection of 30000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory. All along her calves were patiently waiting nearby.

Reversal;

Done by intravenous administration of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. With the use of ropes, she was helped to rise up and join her calves.

Bull recovering from anesthetic   All her calves waiting patiently nearby

Prognosis

Fair.

Close monitoring is being carried out on her and so far, indications show she is improving.

 

5. SNARED BUFFALO BULL

Date: 11th September 2017

Species: Cape buffalo

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Mara Triangle Conservancy

History

This old bull was seen with a plain shiny wire snare by the Mara Triangle Patrol rangers. The snare was loosely attached to his rare left leg. He was with two other lone bulls. His body condition appeared pathetic due to old age.

Snared buffalo browsing with others

Immobilization

He was restrained chemically by use of a combination of 6mgs etorphine and 50mgs azaperone tartarate delivered through a 1.5mldaninject dart from a vehicle. He was recumbent in eight minutes assuming sternal recumbency. This buffalo was stabilized before the snare being released.

Darting the buffalo for treatment

As soon as the snare was removed, he regurgitated and aspirated the regurgitates chocking himself. All attempts to resuscitate him were fruitless.

Unfortunately the buffalo chocked when the snare was removed

A quick post-mortem was then carried out with the following findings;

All incisors were completely worn out to the base.

The molars were also worn out with several of them loosely attached.

The muscle cover was poor with the muscles themselves showing signs of age related cachexia.

Liver was more fibrotic tending towards cirrhosis. There was evidence of fluke infestation.

Lungs had Ingesta aspirates and this could have caused asphyxia.

Autopsy done on the buffalo

Conclusion

This old bull died of asphyxia, having aspirated gastrointestinal regurgitates. The cachexic state of his body condition associated with age meant gastrointestinal sphincter muscles were weak allowing ease of gastric refluxes and this was made worse by anaesthesia.

 

6. EAR TAGGING OF BLACK RHINO

Date: 12th September 2017

Species: Black Rhino

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Mara Triangle

History

This female, about seven years old is known to move out of the conservation area occasionally straying far and wide to community areas with risk of being poached.

Female black rhino identified for tagging

The recent straying having occurred weeks before this exercise where she spent several weeks outside Mara triangle before eventually coming back.For ease of monitoring, Mara Triangle Management, Mara Elephant Project and KWS teams decided to deploy a solar powered GSM/Satellite tag on the ear of this rhino.

Capture and tagging

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 4.5mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 70mgs azaperone delivered through a 1.5mldaninject dart.Darting was done from a helicopter. It took about ten minutes for the drugs to take full effect with the rhino assuming sternal recumbency. She received 5mgs butorphanol to stabilise her before the tag being placed. The tracking tag was placed on an appropriate location on her left ear and the soundness of the device tested before the rhino being revived.

Applying the solar GPS tag  Anesthetic reversed

Reversal

This rhino was reversed by use of 18mgs diprenorphine given intravenously through a prominent ear vein. Another 75mgs of naltrexone was administered intramuscularly as a backup. She got up within three minutes of reversal and moved away.

The rhino with her new GPS tag

It is reported the signal is still working and so far she has not left the protected area.

 

7. TREATMENT OF A BUFFALO

Date: 12th September 2017

Species: Cape buffalo

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Olare Motorogi Conservancy (Porini Camps)

History

This bull among other three lone bulls were seen with a plastic pipe round his left hind leg by the Olare Motorogi patrol rangers. They called the veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This buffalo was seen by the edge of a small thicket with his mates with a plastic pipe round his left hind leg. He stood up but moved with pain.

The buffalo moved with obvious pain  Plastic pipe caught round his hoof

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of combination of 7mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 50mgs azaperone delivered through a 1.5mlsdaninject dart from a vehicle. He was recumbent after eight minutes assuming sternal position.

The plastic piping had injured lower portion of his left hind leg with fresh wounds created by the edges of the pipe. It was assumed he stepped on this waste pipe. This pipe was cut loose and released with the resultant wound being cleaned and disinfected with tincture of iodine. Oxytetracycline spray was then applied before amoxicillin antibiotic and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory being administered parenterally.

Removing the plastic pipe  Wound was cleaned and antibiotic cream applied

Reversal

Achieved by administration of 18mgs diprenorphine intravenously through a prominent ear vein. He woke up within three minutes to join the rest of the bulls.

The buffalo moved away to rejoin his gang

Prognosis

This buffalo is expected to make a full recovery.

 

8. ELEPHANT CALF RESCUE

Date: 15th September 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: 2 years

Location: Mara Triangle

History

This baby had been seen wandering alone for some days by the Mara triangle security team. It was hoped he could find his family and eventually his mother. However, as days passed by, no family of elephants accepted him and a decision to rescue him was arrived at.

Elephant calf wandering alone

Capture and rescue

He was found wandering alone in the plains. He was darted by use of 50mgs azaperone to calm him before being restrained manually with ropes and loaded to a vehicle to Serena airstrip. His body condition was satisfactory and was taken by plane to the DSWT elephant orphanage in Nairobi for care.

Orphan was azaperone to calm him for rescue

 

9. INJURED LIONESS

Date: 20th September 2017

Species: African lion

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Olare-Motorogi conservancy

History

This lioness was spotted with injuries on her flanks by Olare-Motorogi patrol rangers. They called the veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This lioness was found under a shade with wounds on both of her flanks. She had difficulty rising.

Lions in the shade with her wounded flank  She had a large wound on her flank

Immobilization, examination and treatment

She was restrained chemically by use of a combination of 4.8mgs medetomidine and 230mgs ketamine delivered through a 3mldaninject dart from a vehicle. She got fully anaesthetized after ten minutes whereupon a blindfold and eye ointment was put in place.

Examination revealed a big wound splitting some flank muscles on her right flank and bite wounds on her left flank towards her back. All the wounds appeared fresh with the right one thought to have been caused by a buffalo gore. A number of hyenas were seen trailing this lioness and may have tried to attack her after the buffalo injury causing the multiple bites on her left backside.

Stitching the deeper wounds

The right flank wound was cleaned, and absorbable sutures used to repair the torn muscles.

Removing the dead tissue

Skin was shaved, disinfected, trimmed and apposed with vicryl suture. The other bite wounds were disinfected with tincture of iodine with deeper wounds being stitched.

Iodine and green clay applied to the wounds

Green clay was applied to all the wounds to hasten healing before the lioness being reversed.

Reversal

Done one and half hours after immobilization by intramuscular administration of 15mgsatepamezole hydrochloride. She woke up after ten minutes and was stable within fifteen minutes.

Recovering from the anesthetic   Walking away after treatment

Prognosis.

Good

 

10. ELEPHANT CALF RESCUE

Date: 23rd September 2017

Species: African elephant

Age: 2 weeks

Sex: Male

Location: Mara North

History

This baby elephant was found in the morning having been trapped by a tree stumpalong the banks of the Mara River. He seemed to have fallen from the edge of the river bank and luckily got trapped before submerging into the water. He was rescued by the Serian camp team exhausted and hungry. An attempt to look for his family and mother was fruitless as those nearby were all males and none of the few females seen could accept him as all of them had their babies.

Baby elephant at the airstrip  Offering the calf plain water

Way forward

When it became evident that tracing the mother was impossible whilst at the same time, the baby was getting weary by the hour, the option of taking him for care at Nairobi elephant orphanage was arrived at. Another day without the mother and milk would have meant increased chances of losing this baby. In the best interest of this lonely calf, the decision to rescue him and take him to the nursery was the only good option.

DSWT keepers arrive on the scene  Keepers feeding the orphan some milk formula

Walking the orphan to the plane to Nairobi  Strapping the orphan safely for the flight

 

11. LION TREATMENT

Date: 25th September 2017

Species: African lion

Sex: Male

Age: Young adult

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve (Lookout area)

History

This young adult was seen with bite injuries by management of Matira camps. They called the veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This lion was found lying close to a Lugga in good body condition. He had an injury on his right hind leg with part of his tail missing and with fresh injury. All the injuries appeared to have been inflicted by other lions possibly from territorial conflicts.

Lion spotted with injuries

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 4.8mgs medetomidine and 250mgs ketamine delivered through a 3mldaninject dart.Darting was done from a vehicle. This lion was fully anaesthetized after ten minutes upon where a blindfold and eye ointment were put in place.

Lion anesthetized for treatment

All the wounds were debrided with the help of hydrogen peroxide and disinfected with tincture of iodine. Oxytetracycline spray was then applied topically.

Close up of the tail injury  Bites and wounds were disinfected

Other treatments include parenteral administration of 3000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 80mgs ivermectin parasiticidal. The tail wound is expected to heal by granulation though it will take some time.

Reversal

Achieved by intravenous administration of yohimbine one hour after immobilization. He woke up in four minutes and was stable after eight minutes.

Reserving the anesthetic after treatment

Prognosis

Good

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