THE MARA MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
CENTRAL RIFT VETERINARY UNIT
Reported by: Dr Dominic Mijele
During October, the Central Rift vet unit attended to cases of wildlife diseases and injuries in areas like Lane Naivasha, Masai Mara, and Mt Elgon National Park. Most of the veterinary interventions carried out were successful as shown in the report.
Treatment of a male lion with broken canine tooth in Olkiombo Plains Masai Mara
This was a case of an adult male lion that was reported to have a broken canine tooth that was still loosely attached to the gingivum causing much pain and irritation while the animal feeds. It has stayed with the tooth hanging from the mouth for some time before it was reported. The animal was found in Olkiombo Plains GPS location (S-01.23.823, E-.035.09.116) in accompany of another female lion and it was captured by darting using 350mg of Ketamine hydrochloride combined with 350mg of Xylazine hydrochloride, it took about 7 minutes to become recumbent. The female lion was scared away using the vehicle and it took off.
The broken piece of the canine was excised off from the gum, it was the lower canine tooth on the right side if the jaw. The wound was then treated by topical application of antibiotic cream. Other treatment was administration of antibiotics intramuscularly.
Treatment of an injured elephant in Kooyaki Lamek Conservancy
The elephant was seen limping and had a swollen right front limb, it was an adult (about 20 years old) male elephant in Koiyaki Lamek conservancy (Enchoro Oolasho) in Masai Mara, GPS Location (S-01.10.212, E-035.08.024). It was captured by darting using 16mgs of etorphine hydrochloride and it took about 5 minutes for the drug to take effect. The limb was examined and it had no open wound, it was greatly swollen and the tarsal joint was highly flexible a sign of dislocation, not much could be done for the dislocated limb so it was put on dexamethsone and antibiotics treatment.
The animal was then revived from anaesthesia using 48mgs of Diprenorphine hydrochloride through ear vein. It had a good chance of recovery because it was still able to move, feed and drink and no infection had set in.
Postmortem examination of a cheetah cub killed by a leopard in Olare Orok Conservancy, Mara
The cheetah cub was sighted by tour drivers, it had just been attacked and killed by a leopard and later hanged on tope of a tree, the mother took off and was unable to defend its cub. The cub was brought down and examined, it was a female cub of about 4-6 months old, the specific GPS location was S-01.21.959, E-035.09.574. It sustained several bite wounds on the shoulder and abdomen but it died of a fractured cervical vertebrae and injury to the spinal cord. Tissue samples were collected for gene analysis and the carcass disposed for burial.
There have been other reports of cheetah cubs being attacked lions or leopards in the park and intensive monitoring of cheetahs in the Mara should be enhanced to determine the cubs survival rate.
Relocation of a Giraffe that strayed into cattle paddock near Crater Lake sanctuary in Naivasha
It was reported to KWS Naivasha station that a giraffe got into a cattle boma and was unable to find its way out. Residents made all the efforts to move it out while assisted by KWS rangers but it was not possible, one person got injured in the process and was treated. It was a young female giraffe of about 250 kgs, it had grown weak and very stressed & hungry because there was little food for it within the enclosure. The giraffe was later darted and directed towards the fence and it went recumbent just at the fence line, it was lifted across the fence into the Crater Sanctuary then revived from anaesthesia immediately and it joined other giraffes nearby. The farm manager was instructed to mend the fence to avoid incidences of wildlife crossing into the farm.
Desnaring of a buffalo and waterbuck in Mt Elgon National Park
These were cases of a young male buffalo and a waterbuck that got entangled with snares at the park headquarters. The animals were immobilized and snares removed successfully then revived from anaesthesia and released back into the wild. There is need for the security teams organize a desnaring campaign and regular patrols to reduce the incidences on snaring in the park
Desnaring of 2 Common Zebras and a waterbuck in Naivasha KWS Annexe Sanctuary
The cases were reported by the security officers at the Annexe sanctuary, GPS location S-00.44.454, E-036.25.994, these animals had loose wires round their necks that really interfered with their movements and there was need to remove the wires to relieve the animals of pain and suffering. The zebras & waterbuck were immobilized by darting and the wires cut off using wire cutters, then later revived from anaesthesia after being relieved. It has been recommended that regular patrol and desnaring campaigns be conducted in this area to reduce incidences of snared animals.
Suspected case of rabies in a black-backed jackal in Masai Mara National Reserve
The jackal was sighted in Olare Orok wildlife Conservancy in Koiyaki area of Masai Mara at GPS location S-01.15.690, E- 035.08.293 about 5kms from Musiara gate of the reserve. It was an adult male jackal that had signs of rabies infection. The animal was found alone under a tree and the clinical signs observed from a distance included hypersalivation (excess release of ropy saliva) , erect ears, staggering gait, uncoordinated movements, tremours and convulsions, emaciated, gasping air with open mouth. The signs were very much consistent and indicative of rabies infection.
The animal was anaesthetized by darting using 70mgs of Xylazine hydrochloride combined with 70 mgs of Ketamine hydrochloride and it was darted at the neck region from a distance of about 5 meters. It took about 5 minutes for the drug to take effect and the animal went recumbent. It was then immediately euthanized using pentobarbitone hydrochloride (Euthatal) administered intracardiac and it died in less than one minute.
Using full protective gear to avoid human contact and infection the carcass was quickly stuffed into water proof polythene bags and tightly sealed. It was kept in a deep freezer fridge in the veterinarian’s vehicle. The following day the carcass was transferred to Central Veterinary Investigation Laboratories in Kabete for confirmatory diagnosis, results are still awaited, and then the case will be properly documented for reference and follow-up.
A case of dead eland in Soysambu Ranch in Nakuru
It was reported that an eland was found dead in Soysambu ranch while other wildlife species like Thompson’s gazelle and buffalo had other signs of sickness. The veterinary team visited the ranch and patrolled the area in order to find out what could be the problem. An old carcass of eland was sighted and a skeleton of a zebra that died a long time ago. The eland carcass was completely decomposed and no meaningful samples could be collected for further laboratory analysis. It was therefore not easy to ascertain the cause of the death but the ranch manager was instructed to keep monitoring the herds of eland in that ranch to try to find out if there are others with signs of illness so that the vet can carry out an investigation.
Treatment of a wounded giraffe in Nderit farm Naivasha
The giraffe was reported to have been limping and had lost its body condition. It was a sub-adult male giraffe that had an injury on the right hind limb, this had affected its body condition and it had acquired some opportunistic infections and had signs of diarrhea. The animal was captured by darting and the wound debrided and treated by topical application of antibiotics, it was also treated by intramuscular injection of antibiotics and multivitamins. Prognosis was fair after treatment and its condition was expected to improve.
Nderit farm is a small sanctuary located at the southern part of Lake Naivasha enamouring Oserian Game Sanctuary, GPS location S000.48.845, E-036.17.262. The farm has a high population of Masai giraffes, impalas and common zebras.
Removal of a snare and treatment of a snare wound on a common zebra in Nderit Farm
The zebra was sighted soon after treating the giraffe; the female adult zebra had a tight snare on the right hind limb distal to planar surface. It was captured by chemical immobilization then the wire was cut off and the wound treated. The animal was then revived from anaesthesia and released back to the wild.
Cases of snares have become much more rampant in Naivasha area and would require an intensive game patrol and desnaring campaigns to help reduce thee incidences. The veterinary unit in Mara still lacks essential resources like refrigerator for biological samples storage, desktop computer for data storage, internet services and protective clothing for use in clinical and postmortem cases. During the month of October all the reported cases were responded to promptly and successfully with the support of KWS and donors.
Reported by Dr Dominic Mijele
The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust P.O. Box 15555 Nairobi Kenya