The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - June 2013

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PREAMBLE This report describes veterinary field cases handled in Masai mara conservation area during the month of June 2013. Some of the cases were handled courtesy of skyvet initiative. Case 1 Animal: African Elephant (Savannah elephant) Species: Loxodonta Africana africana Sex: Male Age: Adult Location: Elephant pepper area, Mara North Conservancy GPS: S011258.4 E0350828.5 Date of Clinical intervention: 6th June 2013 Clinical History An adult male elephant seen walking with difficulty, suspected to be injured. Immobilization Etorphine Hcl 18mg, in a 3 ml Dan - inject dart was prepared. Using a Dan inject dart rifle the elephant was darted, it was immobilized after 10 minutes. Examination and Wounds management An arrow head had lodged at the right front leg close to foot. The offending arrow head was about 6cm long, lodged deep into tissues of the foot. The penetrating wound was also discharging pus. The wound were cleaned with copious amounts of water and dead tissues removed. The suppurative wound was lavaged with surgical spirit and later liberally cleaned with dilute lugols iodine. The elephant was injected with the following, i. Oxytetracycline 30,000mg (Alamycin 30% LA) i.m ii. Flunixin meglumine 1,000mg i.m Animal care during anesthesia Animal was doused with plenty of water and the eye covered with the pinna of the ear. Reversal of anaesthesia Using 60mg of diprenorphine given IV at the ear vein the animal was reversed from anaesthesia, (a of the dose was given i.m). Recovery from anesthesia was smooth and he ambulated well. Prognosis of the case Good

Extracting the offending arrow  The extracted arrow head

Case # 2 Animal: African Elephant (Savannah elephant) Species: Loxodonta Africana africana Sex: Male Age: Sub adult Location: Masai Mara, Olare Orok Conservancy at Hamerkop area GPS: S01319.14 E0350199.80 Date of autopsy: 8th June 2013 History This elephant was located inside a river bed dead after 2 days search. The tusks were extracted on 07/06/2013 and handed over for safe custody to KWS Security personnel through the conservancy management. General findings The elephant had a stab wound on the left flank located on the ventral abdomen cranial to the left hind leg. The stab wound (a spear wound) was 10 cm wide and had penetrated deep into abdominal cavity .A small part of omenta had eventerated externally and some serosal fluid had oozed out. Specific findings i. Stab wound on the left flank about 10cm in width ii. Fibrin and pus covering serosal surfaces of intestines and colon iii. Severe peritonitis ascending from stab wound point to viscera iv. Marked congestion, ecchymotic hemorrhages on the muscles of the abdomen v. Gangrene at point where sharp object had penetrated into intestines vi. Lungs marked congestion and inflamed vii. Liver cooked appearance Pathological diagnosis Severe purulent peritonitis due to leakage of ingesta from intestines to abdominal cavity Cause of death Severe purulent peritonitis leading to pneumonia and respiratory failure

The entry point of the sharp object  Gangrene at point of entry into lumen of intestines

Case # 3 Animal: Savannah buffalo Species: Syncerus c. caffer Sex: Male Age: adult bull Location: Masai Mara, Olare Orok Conservancy at Rhones airstrip area Date of intervention: 15th June 2013 History A buffalo bull had been spotted speared on the back and the spear handle attached to the spear head. The spear had been thrust deep into the body of the buffalo and had failed to fall off. We had searched for the buffalo for a whole day on 14/6/2013. Immobilization Etorphine Hcl 8mg plus xylazine Hcl 25mg combination, in a 1.5 ml Dan - inject dart was prepared. Using a Dan inject dart rifle the bull was darted, it was immobilized after 10 minutes. Examination and Wounds management A spear head lodged at the 7th rib causing a fracture of the same and penetrating deep into viscera including the rumen, diaphragm and partly plural cavity. The part offending spear head which had penetrated into tissues was 50cm long. The penetrating wound was discharging pus and was ridden with maggots. The wound were cleaned with copious amounts of water and dead tissues removed. The suppurative wound was lavaged with dilute hydrogen peroxide and later liberally cleaned with dilute lugols iodine. The bufallo was injected with the following, i. Amoxicllin Trihydrate 15,000mg (Betamox LA) i.m ii. Flunixin meglumine 1,000mg i.m Oxytetracycline spray was applied as a fly repellant Animal care during anesthesia Animal was doused with plenty of water Reversal of anaesthesia Using 36mg of diprenorphine plus 5mg of atipamizole combination given IV at the ear vein the animal was reversed from anesthesia, recovery was smooth and he ambulated well. Prognosis of the case Guarded

The speared buffalo  Preparing to remove the spear

The spear wound before treatment  The spear wound after treatment

Case # 4 Animal: Lion Species: Panthera Leo Sex: Male Age: adult Location: Masai Mara, National Reserve at Tipili kwani Talek area Date of intervention: 16th June 2013 History An injured lion during a fight for a mating partner during mating period was reported on 16th June 2013. Examination One testicle had been opened; scrotal skin and testicular tunics had been lost. The wound was 5 days old and the remaining parts of scrota had contracted and adhesions had formed and the testicle was fully exposed. Immobilization Ketamine Hcl 300mg plus 10mgof Medetomidine combination in a 3ml Dan - inject dart was prepared. Using a Dan inject dart rifle the lion was darted, it was immobilized after 10 minutes. Examination and Wounds management Surgical removal of the injured testicle (castration) was carried out. Ligations of the arterial and venous blood supply to the testicle using hemostats and chromic catgut # 3 (7metric) and chromic catgut # 2 sutures were carried out. Others bleeders were duly clamped and ligated. The remaining scrota were opposed using chromic catgut # 3 by simple continuous pattern. The lion was injected with the following, i. Amoxicillin Trihydrate 4,500mg (Betamox LA) i.m ii. Dexamethasone 20mg i.m Oxytetracycline spray was applied as a fly repellant Other wounds inflicted during the nasty fight were cleaned and lavaged with dilute hydrogen peroxide and an Oxytetracycline fly repellant spray applied Reversal of anaesthesia After 1hour and10 minutes of anesthesia, the effects of medetomidine were reversed. Using 20mg of atipamizole given IM the lion was reversed from anaesthesia, recovery was smooth and he ambulated well. He was later joined by his mate (lioness). Prognosis of the case Good to fair

The immobilized lion after darting  The exposed testicle

Removing the injured testicle  The lion after treatment

Case #5 Date: 17th June 2013 Species: Elephant Sex: Male Age: Adult History The Siana conservancy management reported having sighted an elephant with suspected injury around the withers. The elephant was seen to be in poor body condition and with limited movements. General examination The elephant was seen to be in poor body condition though feeding, it appeared dull and lethargic. Immobilization The elephant was immobilized using 15mg Etorphine Hcl and 1500 IU Hyaluronidase delivered through Daninject system. The drugs took effect after 8 min. Physical examination The elephant appeared to be in poor body condition with bony prominences discernible.A small ulcerating papilloma with maggot infestation was seen on the left side of the withers. The skin around the right rump appeared cracked and ulcerated. The cause of debility was not immediately ascertained but suspected to be long standing septicaemia. Treatment Maggots were duly removed and the both wounds cleaned with water and hydrogen peroxide. Lugols iodine was applied together with oxytetracycline wound spray. 15000mgs Amoxycillin antibiotic injection was given intramuscularly.100mgs of Dexamethasone sodium antiinflamatory was also given intramuscularly.The management was advised to keep monitoring the progress and if need be, repeat treatment can be instituted after two weeks. Reversal 48mgs of diprenorphine hydrochloride was administered intravenously through ear vein and the elephant woke up without difficulty after two minutes. Prognosis Guarded

The darted bull  Treating the bull

The bull awake after treatment

Case# 6; Post mortem Date: 23rd June 2013 Species: Elephant Sex: Male Age: Young adult Location: Sentrim logde Masai mara Cordinates: GPS 36M0761751, UTM 9830034 History This elephant was found dead near Sentrim lodge on the morning of 23/6/2013 by Sentrim lodge staff. General examination Elephant found on right lateral recumbency with both tusks intact. The elephant appeared to have been in perfect body condition with a penetrating wound about 6 inches wide and12 inches deep on its left flank oozing sero sanguinous fluid. The wound was inflicted by sharp object possibly a spear. The carcass was fresh, less than one day old. Rigor mortis had not set in. There was no evidence of struggle before death on the scene. Post mortem examination On opening the carcass the following findings were noted; 1. Large volume of foul smelling peritonial fluid was released upon opening the carcass. 2. Most internal organs had adhered to the body wall both in the abdomen and thoracic cavity. 3. There was evidence of fibrinous peritonitis. 4. The wound appeared to have lasted for about ten days. Conclusion This elephant died because of peritonitis secondary to trauma. The sharp object inflicted injury highly suggest human involvement in the cause Both tusks were removed and handed over to KWS security team for save custody

The entry point of the spear  The internal wound

Case #7 Date: 24th June2013 Species: Elephant Age: Sub adult Sex: Male History Mara bush tops scouts reported having seen this elephant for the last two days ambulating with difficulty. General examination The elephant appeared to be in pain while ambulating.The left front limb was the problem. Nevertheless the elephant was feeding. Immobilization and treatment A combination of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride and 1000international units of hyalouronidase was used through Daninject system. The elephant was tranquilised after 9minutes. Examination revealed a swollen left front limb at the level of carpus with a small discharging wound laterally. This was a case of septic arthritis as a result of injury. The wound was washed with hydrogen peroxide and corpious amount of water. Lugols iodine was then applied together with oxytetracycline wound spray. It was then given 15000mgs of Amoxycillin antibiotic intramuscularly. Reversal 48mgs diprenorphine hydrochroride was administered through ear vein and the elephant got up in two minutes. Prognosis Fair

The immobilized bull  Probing the wound

The wound after it is cleaned and treated  The bull back on its feet

Case #8 Date: 25th June 2013 Species: Elephant Age: Adult Sex: Male Location: Gps-36m 0757836, UTM 9826952. History The elephant was reported dead by the Narok County Council security patrol team behind Ngama hills. General examination The elephant was in good body condition and both tusks were intact Had a spear sticking out on the left flank with serosanguineous discharge. There was evidence of struggle at the scene before death. The carcass was fresh with no rigor mortis Post mortem examination On opening the carcass, the following were noted: 1. The spear had fractured the last rib midway 2. The spear wound was about 5inches wide and 15inches deep 3. Damage to abdominal vital organs was significant, this involved injury to: large intestines, liver and right kidney. This was spear-inflicted. Conclusion Damage to vital organs could have compromised physiological functions hence survival of this elephant. Both tusks were recovered and handed over to Narok County Council security team for safe custody. There is circumstantial evidence to show that humans were involved in the death of this elephant.

The dead bull  The spear sticking out of the bull

Elephant Collaring. In addition, three male elephants were collared in collaboration with the Mara Elephant Project. This was done in three locations: Ol donyo Rinka in Naboisho conservancy, Olderkesi Conservancy and Ol sentu to secure those areas for the well being of this population. The whole operation was successfully executed.

An elephant goes down after being darted  Fitting the collar

Securing the collar  The elephant back on its feet after collaring

Conclusion. The Mara Mobile Vet Unit is thankful to the managements of the Kenya Wildlife Services and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their continued support without which this work would not have been possible. Report by: Drs Campaign Limo and Titus Kaitho