This report describes activities of the Meru veterinary unit in December 2017. Following short rains in November, northern Kenya had plenty of pasture and water for wildlife.
In Lewa conservancy we attended to a male elephant with suspected fracture of the leg. In Shaba national reserve an elephant which showed lameness could not be traced for treatment.
The Meru unit acknowledges financial and logistical support provided by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to provide veterinary services to wildlife in northern Kenya.
CASE 1 LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT
Age: Adult (15-year-old)
Location: Lewa wildlife conservancy
Rangers on patrol in LWC found this elephant during routine patrol. It showed severe lameness on its left hind leg and had been left behind by the rest of the herd. We visited the conservancy on 09/12/17 to assess this elephant.
Immobilization and examination
We found this elephant alone in an open grassland plain which is ideal for vehicle darting. For immobilization we used Etorphine hydrochloride 10mg in a 1.5 cc dart injected into the gluteal muscles. Induction time was four minutes and the elephant fell into right lateral recumbence.
Examination showed swollen left thigh muscles and excess mobility around the stifle joint. There was no external injury. Although we tentatively diagnosed fracture of the femur manipulation of the affected leg did not show any crepitus. The injury was thought to have occurred from a fall.
Treatment and prognosis
A conservative treatment approach was considered while we monitored its health progress. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered by intramuscular route. The effects of the anesthetic drugs were reversed using diprenophine hydrochloride administered through the superficial ear veins.
Prognosis for recovery of fracture of bones in elephants is guarded due to massive weight and pressure exerted on the bones during locomotion.