The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - March 2010
Treatment of an elephant bull with a traumatic injury on the leg in Olare-Orok Conservancy, Mara
This was a case of an adult male elephant which had an abscess and a wound on the medial side of the right front leg slightly above the spool. The wound was already infected with a lot of pus and fluid accumulation; the elephant could only walk slowly and carefully while avoiding much weight on the affected leg. It was suspected that the animal could have been stabbed by a sharp object probably an arrow that later on dropped off. This elephant was sighted by the Olare-Orok Conservancy rangers who reported to the veterinarian immediately for action to be taken.
Chemical immobilization, examination and treatment
The elephant was darted from a vehicle using 18mgs of etorphine Hcl and 1500 i.u, the drug took effect after about 5 minutes and it became recumbent. The wound was cleaned with a lot of water and gauze swabs removing all the mud and dirt from the infected site, and then the wound was probed carefully using a long forceps to find out if there was a foreign material inside and how deep it penetrated into the tissues.
After examination, it was realized that there was no foreign material in it and the wound was only affecting the soft tissues and cartilages. The wound was further cleaned using 10% hydrogen peroxide and it was slit open to enhance drainage of all the accumulated pus and tissue debris, then further treated with a tincture of iodine and oxytetracycline spray.
Further treatments by intramuscular administration of long-acting oxytetracycline antibiotics, multivitamins and dexamethasone were provided. Blood samples were collected for testing of various infections including bovine tuberculosis.
Revival of anesthesia
After treatment, the elephant was revived from anaesthesia using 60mgs of diprenorphine hydrochloride administered through the superficial ear-vein. It had good prognosis and higher chances of recovery after the treatment. It was to be monitored closely by the Conservancy rangers to know the progress.
Removal of a wire snare and treatment of a female impala near Oloolaimutiak gate in Mara
An adult female impala was sighted with a tight wire snare hanging round its neck. It was in a large herd of about 60 impalas near Oloolaimutiak gate. The snare was tightly encircling the neck but had not cut through the skin and muscles of the neck. It had not inflicted any injury to the animal even though it was strangling the neck and affecting its movement.
The impala was captured by darting using 5mgs of etorphine hydrochloride combined with 20mgs of xylazine hydrochloride. The drug took effect after about 10 minutes and the animal went down. It was then revived from anaesthesia immediately and then physically restrained by hands; this helped to minimize the effects of anesthetics on the physiology of the impala.
The wire was then cut off using a wire cutter then blood samples drawn from the jugular vein to be used for health monitoring purposes. After a successful treatment, it was released back to the wild. It had good prognosis of recovery after removal of the wire and relieving it from the pain of being strangled by the wire.
During the month of March, 2010, the Mara veterinary unit was involved in Bovine tuberculosis disease surveillance and research in wildlife and also responded to all reported cases of sick and injured wildlife species within Maasai Mara National Reserve. One bull elephant and one female impala were attended to and successfully treated.
Kenya Wildlife Service acknowledges the support of David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) towards provision of prompt veterinary services to wildlife in Maasai Mara ecosystem, Central Rift region and
Report by: Dr. Dominic Mijele