During the month of April, 2011, the Central Rift veterinary unit managed to attend to all the reported cases during the month. These included an adult male elephant with severe injuries on the left abdomen in Siana area, a male buffalo treated for bilateral fluid accumulation on the elbow joints and rescue of a one day old buffalo calf near Sarova game lodge in Maasai Mara. Intensive joint security patrols and community education and awareness on wildlife conservation are required to reverse the trend of human-wildlife conflict that results in loss of several wildlife species in these areas. Detailed reports of all the animal cases attended to during the month of March, 2011 are highlighted in the report below.
Treatment of an adult male elephant with severe injuries on the abdomen in Siana Springs, Maasai Mara.
The elephant was sighted with quite severe abdominal injuries on the left side of the abdomen; it was reported to the Mara veterinary unit by Siana conservancy game scouts who found it grazing alone in a thick bushy area near Siana airstrip. The elephant could barely move and was in a lot of pain, not able to feed adequately. It had started loosing much of its body condition due to the injuries and required urgent veterinary clinical intervention.
Chemical immobilization and restrain
The elephant was approached to a close distance by a vehicle then darted using 17mgs of etorphine Hcl combined with 1500 i.u of hyaluronidase on the left hind thigh, the drug took effect after about 8 minutes and it went down on lateral side. Respiration rate and body temperatures were monitored very closely to ensure that the animal was under stable anaesthesia before treatment began.
Examination and treatment
The elephant had two deep and penetrating wounds on the left side of the abdomen, one of the wounds went through the abdominal muscles into the peritoneum and this had a higher risk of developing peritonitis. There was pus and fluid accumulation on the ventral side of the abdomen caused by internal haemorrhage and inflammation. The wounds were then examined and probed using a long tissue forceps and cleaned using clean water and gauze swabs, a slit opening was created on the ventral side of the abdomen to enhance drainage of pus and necrotic tissue debris. The wounds were further flushed using 10% hydrogen peroxide and finally treated with a tincture of iodine and oxytetracycline spray. The elephant was also treated using long-acting oxytetracycline antibiotic administered intramuscularly and multivitamins.
Revival of anaesthesia
The elephant was revived from narcosis using 60mgs of diprenorphine Hcl administered through the superficial ear-veins. The Siana game scouts were instructed to monitor the animal very closely for some time after treatment and report its progress to the veterinary team. It had a fair prognosis and good chances of recovery from the injury if the wound would not progress into peritonitis and cause septiceamia.
Treatment of a buffalo (Syncerus caffer) with fluid accummulation in the joints in Mara Triangle.
This was an adult male buffalo which had bilateral swellings on the lateral sides of the elbow joints and tarsal joints. The animal could not move properly because of the swellings that exerted a lot of pressure on the thoracic muscles and affecting the respiration rate. The buffalo was then captured by darting using 5mgs of etorphine combined with 40mgs of xylazine Hcl.
Examination and treatment
The swellings were soft on palpation and were full of fluid accummulation, when the swellings were aspirated using 18” gauge needle and 20ml syringe it produced a colourless serous fluid with whitish suspensions. The swellings were then carefully lanced using a surgical blade fitted on a blade holder and about 10litres of fluid was drained from all the swellings. White foamy fatty tissues were also squeezed out of the swellings. All the resulting wounds were then cleaned and debrided using clean water and 10% hydrogen peroxide then flushed with tincture of iodine and sprayed using oxytetracycline spray. About 1 inch open slit was created on the lower side of each swelling to enhance further drainage of any fluid accummulation. Samples of the fluid, blood and tissue debris were collected for laboratory analysis. Adequate dosages of long-acting oxytetracycline antibiotics were administered intramuscularly to help take care of bacterial infections.