THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - October 2017

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

The month was characterised by return of precipitation and more wildlife coming back to the reserve. Some human-wildlife conflict related cases were handled with one lion suffering serious injuries thought to be as a result of spearing, and an elephant treated for arrow wound injuries. One male giraffe was also treated for an arrow injury in a community area.

An old tusk-less elephant cow estimated to be over 55 years, which was treated a month ago for a small wound, got stuck in mud and after being pulled out could not stand on her own despite great assistance. She died some hours later. Her molars were completely worn off, this being attributed to her advanced age.

The following cases were handled during the month:

1. RESCUE OF TRAPPED FEMALE ELEPHANT

Date: 4th October 2017

Species: African elephant

Age: Over 55years

Sex: Female

Location: Siana conservancy

History

This old elephant nursing a 3-year-old calf was being monitored, following deterioration in her body condition despite treatment. She had been treated a month ago for a small arrow wound with possible low-grade peritonitis. During the treatment, her body condition was poor with visible debilitation and worn out molars impending negatively on her ability to browse. She seemed to show some slight improvement but not satisfactorily. It is reported she slipped into a muddy pool and could not help herself out.

General observation

She was found lying laterally within the muddy pool struggling to stand but without any sign that the mud was hindrance to helping herself up.

Mother collapsed next to her calves

Way forward

She was carefully pulled out of the muddy pool with help of a vehicle and straps. However, she could not rise on her own even after being placed on her sternum for ease of standing up. She made a few efforts and was assisted but still appeared too weak to stand. She was given sometime to gather some energy and see whether she could muster some strength to stand but all in vain.

Assisting the cow to stand

She succumbed some hours later, this being attributed to loss in her condition due to old age, inability to feed, all these aggravated by the injury. The calf is coping well and is being monitored having been taken over by his two older brothers who have joined a larger herd.

 

2. WOUNDED ELEPHANT BULL

Date: 5th October 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Young adult

Location: Mara Triangle Conservancy

History

This young bull has been treated twice before with the latest treatment done a year ago. He has a fibroma that has developed on his left heel. Though benign, it occasionally gets abraded causing ulcerations with maggot infestation and sepsis. Once treated, the wound heals, and the problem goes away for some time but recurs when the fibroma gets injured again.The overall body condition of this bull is good and his mobility is not affected and treatment helps him afford some quality of his life.

Immobilization, examination and treatment.

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5mldaninjectdart.This being the third time of treatment, this elephant could not be approached by vehicle for darting as he had good memory and was nervous running away on approach. Darting was therefore done from a helicopter.

Fibroma on the elephants left heel  Preparing the bull for treatment

It took seven minutes for the drugs to take full effect with this elephant assuming left lateral recumbency. Examination revealed a maggot infested septic wound on his right heel. The wound being attributed to abrasion of the fibroma.

The wound was cleaned with copious amount of water and all maggots removed manually, debrided with the help of hydrogen peroxide and disinfected with tincture of iodine after rinsing with clean water. This was then packed with green clay. Additional treatments include parenteral administration of amoxicillin antibiotic, flunixin meglumine anti – inflammatory and ivermectin parasiticide to deter maggot re-infestation.

Thoroughly cleaning the wound  Packing the wound with green clay

Reversal

This was done by use of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride delivered intravenously through a prominent ear vein. He rose up within three minutes of reversal and walked away.

Reversing the anesthetic  Elephant bull walking off after treatment

Prognosis

This being a benign tumour, metastasis is not expected, but complete recovery is not possible. With treatments, the wound heals but recurs after some period especially following abrasion and maggot infestation. This is to afford this bull quality life given that his body condition has remained good and the fibroma doesn’t bother him unless abraded.

 

3. INJURED LION

Date: 6th October 2017

Species: African lion

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Olkiombo (Rekero area)

History

This lion was found with an injury on his left thigh and right front paw by tour guides around this area. They called the mobile veterinary unit for assessment.

General observation

He was found lying in a relatively open area in company of the popular ‘Scar face’ male who belongs to the Marsh pride of lions. The wound on his thigh was relatively fresh and he appeared to favour his right front leg.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 240mgs ketamine and 6mgs medetomidine hydrochloride delivered through a 3mldaninject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle. Examination was done fifteen minutes after darting when he was under full effects of the anaesthetics.

Wound on the lions thigh clearly visible  Lion darted for treatment

Green clay was packed topically

Both wounds appeared relatively fresh and could have been caused by a sharp object. Spearing was suspected. Since these were relatively fresh injuries, disinfection with iodine was done with the intention of putting sutures. They were then closed from inside using chromic catgut absorbable sutures and externally using nylon. Cloxacillin ointment was infused before completing the stitching process with green clay being packed topically.

Preparing to treat wounds on paw and thigh  Deep wound on the paw

Wound was sutured internally and externally  Stitching the paw wound

This lion additionally received intramuscular injection of amoxicillin antibiotic and subcutaneous administration of ivermectin parasiticide.

Reversal

Reversal was done 1.5 hours after immobilization by use of yohimbine given intravenously through the saphenous vein. He woke up in four minutes and moved away.

Green clay was packed topically  Reversing the anesthetic

Prognosis

Fair. He will take time to heal completely but is lucky he belongs to a pride that will help him in hunting. Monitoring of this lion was advised and the county rangers to give a brief on his condition regularly. So far he is improving.

Recovering from treatment  Prognosis was fair

 

4. INJURED ELEPHANT BULL

Date: 8th October 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Young adult

Location: Oloisukut conservancy.

History

This young bull was seen with a swollen right hind leg and slightly limping when walking. This prompted Oloisukut conservancy manager to seek our help to treat this elephant.

General observation.

He was found alone browsing within the conservancy near Mara River. He was in good body condition with extensive elephant activity noted within the area. Other herd members had been there earlier.

Bull found limping

Immobilization, examination and treatment

This bull was immobilized by use of 16mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 3mldaninjectdart. Darting was done from a vehicle. It took seven minutes for the drugs to take full effect with this bull assuming left lateral recumbency. Examination revealed a relatively fresh penetrating wound on the cranial surface of his mid right hind leg.

Preparing for treatment

This wound on closer examination appeared to have been caused by a high velocity projectile which lodged in the tibia fibula. Probing resulted into more bleeding with no foreign object traced within the soft tissues. The wound was cleaned with water and disinfected with tincture of iodine.Cloxacillin ointment was infused with green clay being packed externally.Additionally, amoxicillin antibiotics and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatories were given intramuscularly.

Fresh penetrating wound on elephants right hind leg  Wound was cleaned and packed with healing green clay

Reversal

Achieved by administration of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. He rose within three minutes of reversal and traced where the rest of the herd were.

Reversing the anesthetic  Bull walking away after treatment

Prognosis

Fair. Given that no fracture was detected, mobility of this elephant will not be hindered. The projectile was left inside and is known not to cause serious tissue reaction. Challenge of possible osteomyelitis is of concern, but the team were advised to do constant monitoring for possible repeat treatment to keep infection at bay.

 

5. INJURED ELEPHANT

Date: 12th October 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Siana conservancy

History

This elephant in a herd of about twenty elephants was seen with a big swelling on the left side of his breast. Slightly dorsal to the big swelling was a small wound. They informed the veterinary unit for assessment and help.

General observation

This bull in a big herd was found browsing with other elephants in a slightly thick acacia bush. The swelling on his breast was evident with a small discharging wound slightly dorsal to the swelling.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Chemical restraint was achieved by use of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered remotely through a 1.5mldaninject dart from a vehicle. It took eight minutes for full effects of the drugs to occur with this elephant assuming right lateral recumbency. The rest of the herd reluctantly left him as soon as he was down.

Examination revealed a big swelling harbouring purulent stuff slightly ventral to an old septic wound. This was thought to have been caused by a poisoned arrow. This arrow could have since fallen off as probing yielded no foreign body.

Discharging wound on the elephants side

Ventro most part of this abscess was opened, and the pus drained. Copious amount of water was introduced proximally from the wound and drained ventrally from the created opening. This through and through lavage created efficient curettage of the abscess. Hydrogen peroxide and tincture of iodine were introduced to remove more necrotic tissue and disinfect respectively. Green clay was then packed to absorb toxins and hasten healing process. Additional treatments include parenteral administration of 30000mgs amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

The wound had no foreign body  The abcess was opened and the pus was drained

Green clay was packed to absorb toxins and hasten healing process

Reversal

Achieved by use of 42mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride given intravenously through a prominent ear vein. He woke up three minutes after reversal to join the other elephants.

Reversing the anesthetic  Elephant walking away after treatment

Prognosis

Good.

 

 6.        PARALYZED ELEPHANT COW

Date: 12th October 2017

Species: African elephant

Sex: Female

Age: Adult

Location: Mara North Conservancy

History

This collared mother christened ‘Courtney’ had been treated for an arrow wound two months ago with the arrowhead being retrieved from her left shoulder in Musiara area. She had survived multiple arrow shots a year before after crop raiding with locals shooting her with arrows.

Mara Elephant Project team noted an immobility alert signal from her collar and got concerned and on responding, they found her lying on her right lateral side with signs of posterior paralysis. There was a fresh bleeding wound on her spine at the withers. From their records, she had been lying there for at least 24hours immobile. They called the veterinary unit for assessment.

Elephant found recumbent on her right lateral side

General observation and case management.

She was in a fair body condition with a fresh injury which was bleeding on her spine close to the withers. This injury could have been caused by spearing.An attempt to make her rise up was fruitless as her rear limbs appeared not functional. The fresh injury appeared to have damaged the spinal cord and by extension nerve supply to the posterior part of her body.

Fresh injury which was bleeding close to her spine  The spear wound

Her rear limbs did not seem to respond

With this complication, prognosis was considered grave and to stop her from further suffering, she was humanely euthanized. Her tusks were handed over to KWS security team for recording and safe custody.

 

7. ZEBRA WITH A SNARE

Date: 15th October 2017

Species: Common zebra

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Olarro Conservancy

History

This male zebra was seen by management of Olarro conservancy dragging a wire from his left front limb. They called the veterinary unit to help de-snare him.

General observation.

This zebra was found deep in a thicket grazing with a few other zebras. He was dragging a plain wire snare on his front left limb. He appeared nervous on approach.

Immobilization, examination and treatment.

He was pushed from the thicket to an open place by rangers on foot. Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 5mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 50mgs azaperone delivered through a 1.5mldaninject dart from a vehicle.He was recumbent in seven minutes upon where examination and treatment was conducted. He had a plain wire round his fetlock joint of front left limb. This snare had caused some wounds through abrasion. It appeared to have been in place for approximately one week.

Zebra darted to remove snare

This wire was cut loose and removed, and the resultant wound debrided with hydrogen peroxide and rinsed with clean water. Tincture of iodine disinfectant and oxytetracycline spray were then applied topically. Other treatments include parenteral administration of amoxicillin antibiotic and flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.

The wound from the snare was thoroughly cleaned

Reversal

Achieved by administration of 18mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride intravenously through the jugular   vein. He woke up in two minutes to join the rest of the zebra herd.

Prognosis

Good.

 

8. GIRAFFE WITH AN ARROW WOUND

Date: 16th October 2017

Species: Masai giraffe

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Siana Conservancy

History

This giraffe was seen with an arrow sticking from the left side of his neck by Mara BushTops tour guides. They informed the mobile veterinary unit for intervention.

General observation

This giraffe was found browsing with other members of the herd with the shaft of the arrow visible from the left side of his neck. He was a big bull in good body condition.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of a combination of 13mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 60mgs azaperone delivered through a 3mldaninject dart from a vehicle. It took eight minutes for the drugs to take effect upon where he was roped down for treatment. Once down he was reversed with 36mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride through jugular vein, but the neck and head pinned down to continue with treatment. The arrow was gently removed and on examination, it was barbed but not poisoned.

The arrow was removed from the neck

The resultant wound was debrided with hydrogen peroxide, rinsed with clean water and disinfected with tincture of iodine.Cloxacillin ointment was then infused.Other treatments include intramuscular administration of 7500mgs amoxicillin antibiotics and 2000mgs flunixin meglumine anti-inflammatory.After completion of treatment, he was released, and he got up with one attempt without any complications.

Recovering from treatment  Running away and fully recovered

Prognosis

Good.

| 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