The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - May 2010

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Introduction
The month of May recorded low cases of animal treatment interventions as recorded in April. This was due to the continuation of the April/May rains which ensured enough forage in the park for the animals and also plenty of food crops for the surrounding community. The resident vet also proceeded on a 10 day leave during the month.

The unit attended to two cases of injury to elephants previously raised and released by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT), the elephants Emily and Irima were all treated at the Voi stockade after they returned with arrow shots on their rumps.

Emily is a darling to many people especially the staff of DSWT! She was raised by the trust and released to the wild with many others and she bravely took the role of the matriarch at her tender age, a role she does with authority and confidence. She leads others to the park and back to the place they remember with passion, the stockade on nearly weekly basis. She reported back on 5th of May with an arrow lodged on her rump, the metallic part still protruding.

Darting and treatment
Darting was done using a dan inject dart filled with 16 mgs of etorphine alone.
It took around 8 minutes for Emily to go down into lateral recumbency with the head facing downwards posing a risk of respiratory complications.
She was tied then pulled to a good position then the area around the wound was surgically enlarged to allow for the rugged nature of the arrow head to come out.
The wound was treated with Hydrogen peroxide and iodine applied, finally long acting amoxicillin was injected parenteraly.

Emily before she is darted

The arrow sticking out of Emily's rump  Emily is immobilized

The arrow head is removed from the wound  Emily gets back to her feet



Anesthesia revival
Emily was revived at 09 20 A.M using 60 mgs of diprenophine given intravenously on the ear vein. She was up within a minute with very good prognosis and healing is assured within weeks.

Introduction
Irima is one of our orphaned elephants raised by the trust and released to the wild.
He also appeared on the same date as Emily with a wound on the back which was treated in April but never resolved. Most wounds in elephants takes long to heal due to the tendency of the elephants to wade in muddy water pools hence contaminating the wounds and also flies laying their eggs on the wounds. 

The wound on Irima's rump  Cleaning the wound

Irima and the wound after treatment



Darting and Treatment
Darting was done using 14 mgs of etorphine in a dan inject dart gun.
It took 7 minutes for him to go down and landed in lateral position that was ideal for anesthesia.
The wound was cleaned using hydrogen peroxide and all the dead tissues removed, then iodine was applied and a final spray of oxytetracycline administered.
Pareteral long acting amoxicillin and multivitamin was injected.

Anaesthesia revival
Revival was done using 48 mgs of diprenorphine Hcl injected intravenously to the ear vein. He was up within a minute of revival drug administration.

Conclusion
In the month of May there was little activity and as seen in the reports above the cases attended were from the normally resident animals near the park headquarters. This is due to the prevailing wet season which makes sighting difficult, reduced conflict between animals and the community and also low number of tourist in the park who usually report on the injuries.

Report: by Dr Jeremiah Poghon

The Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyah Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten