VETERINARY CLINICAL INTERVENTIONS FOR THE SOUTHERN CONSERVATION AREA – NOVEMBER 2014
Report by; Dr. Michael Njoroge.
Monitoring and surveillance in Amboseli National Park and the surrounding ecosystem
The month of November was generally calm with few cases requiring clinical intervention. This could be probably attributed to the increased security and rainfall. The Southern Conservation (Amboseli) Mobile Veterinary Unit remained vigilant on vehicle and aerial patrols within the ecosystem thus effectively carrying out monitoring, surveillance and disease investigation. Cases that required clinical intervention were promptly attended to.
CASE#1 WILDLIFE MORTALITY INVESTIGATION
Date: 8th November 2014
Location: Oldare - Amboseli
The Mobile Veterinary Unit conducted a wildlife mortality investigation at Oldare which is within the Amboseli Ecosystem. This was after a report from the KWS management of the death of 9 elands.
All these mortalities had occurred within a period of 2 days. The animals were in good body condition (4 on a scale of 5) prior to death. The deaths had occurred in close proximity to each other so it was suspected that this was a herd that had been poisoned.
No samples could be collected as scavengers had already mauled the organs.
The herd could have died from poisoning after browsing on some poisonous plants as the rainy season had just started.
CASE#2 TREATMENT OF INJURED ELEPHANT (TIM) AT AMBOSELI NATIONAL PARK
Date: 10th November 2014
Species: Elephant - Tim
Age: Adult – aged 40-45 years
Location: Amboseli National Park
A group of tourists reported a case of an injured male elephant in Amboseli National Park. The veterinary team tried to locate the elephant but could not manage from the ground so plans were made to have the DSWT helicopter on site to find and dart Tim. The elephant was in a palm thicket but was relatively easy to dart using the helicopter.
Immobilization, examination and treatment
Tim was pushed to a relatively open ground to be darted and 18mg Etorphine Hcl topped up with water was prepared in a 3 ml dan - inject dart. Darting was carried out using the Dan Inject system and was relatively easy from a helicopter despite the thick vegetation. The elephant went down on lateral recumbence after 9 minutes. The trunk was maintained patent using a piece of stick placed across the nostril entrances. It was very hot so plenty of water was doused on the elephant to keep his body temperature low. The ears were used as blindfold.
On physical examination the elephant had an approximately 12 inch deep septic wound (1-2 weeks old) on the left flank close to the hip region which had necrotic tissue. The wound is likely to have been caused by a spear which had come off with time. The dead tissue was debrided and removed and the wound was then thoroughly cleaned using clean water and Hydrogen peroxide. It was then lavaged using tincture of Iodine and topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The elephant was then injected with 100ml Betamox, 1200mg Clindamycin and 100ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 25 minutes.
60mg Diprenorphine Hydrochloride into the ear vein was used to reverse the anaesthetic and it took about 4 minutes to be fully awake.
Good, Tim will be under close monitoring and may be given a repeat treatment if need be.
CASE#3 TREATMENT OF INJURED ELEPHANT
Date: 19th November 2014
Age: Adult – aged 25 – 30 years
The veterinary team while on aerial patrol spotted an injured elephant within the Satao area. Plans were made to have the DSWT helicopter on sight for easy sighting and darting. The elephant was in a bush thicket but relatively easy to dart using the helicopter. The elephant was pushed to an open ground for darting.
A 3ml Dan inject with 18mg Etorphine Hcl 18mg topped up with water was prepared and the elephant was darted from the helicopter. The first dart using was damaged after discharging the dose partially which we realised 20 minutes after darting. A second dart was fired but it still took 47 min to bring the elephant down despite fully discharging the drug. After 10 minutes into the treatment, the elephant recovered from the anaesthesia and since the operation was not over, a top up of 4mg was administered via the ear vein. The trunk was maintained patent using a piece of stick placed across the nostril entrances. The temperature was high so plenty of water was doused on the elephant to keep the body temperature low. The ears were used as blindfold.
Examination and Treatment
On physical examination the elephant had a wound approximately 6 inch deep and 4 inches wide to the right flank but close to the hip that was septic and had necrotic tissue. The wound is likely to have been caused by a spear which had come off with time. The dead tissue was debrided and removed, then the wound was thoroughly cleaned using clean water and Hydrogen peroxide. It was then lavaged using tincture of Iodine and topical antibiotic cream and green clay applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The elephant was then injected with 100 ml Betamox L.A, 1200 mg Clindamycin (Dalacin C) and 200 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 25 minutes.
The anaesthetic was reversed by injecting Diprenorphine Hydrochloride (60mgs) into the ear vein was used. It took about 7 minutes to be fully awake from anaesthesia.
CASE#4 RETREATMENT OF INJURED ELEPHANT
Date: 19th November 2014
Species: Elephant - Selegei
Age: Adult – aged 30 – 35 years
Location: Selegei, Amobseli
An adult male elephant had been treated earlier at Selegei, Porini Conservancy and required monitoring and re-treatment. The mobile veterinary unit attended to the case and decided to immobilize the elephant though he showed signs of improvement.
Immobilization, examination and treatment
A 3ml Dan-inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl was prepared and the elephant was darted from a helicopter provided by the DSWT due to the thick vegetation with a Dan inject dart rifle; he was immobilized after 13 minutes.The animal was doused with plenty of water and the eye covered with the pinna of the ear. A piece of stick was placed across the trunk to keep it patent.
On physical examination the elephant had a swollen left forelimb (muscle laxation).The elephant was then injected with 200 ml Betamox L.A, 2 vials of Dalacin C and 200 ml Dexamethasone HCL at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 25 minutes.
The elephant was revived using 54mg of Diprenorphine Hcl by IV into the ear vein. Recovery from anaesthesia was smooth and the elephant stood up and walked away after about 4 minutes.
CASE#5 POSTMORTEM REPORT OF AN ELEPHANT AT SATAO
Date of Death: 24th November 2014
Date of Postmortem
Age: Infant, 2 -3 years
Game scouts at Satao camp reported to the Satao management a dead elephant within the area. The management then reported to the veterinary team and also dispatched a team of their rangers to the scene. The team found the tusks intact and started to remove the tusks for safe custody. The tusks were then delivered to Amboseli National Park headquarters.
On general examination, the animal was in fair body condition and was on the right lateral side. Her right flank was torn and opened up and the right hind limb was also severely injured and predated upon. The internal organs especially the git had been extensively damaged and this could have lead to haemorrhage thus causing death due to shock.
This wounds sustained suggest that predators had attacked this young elephant.
The Southern Conservation Area Mobile Veterinary Unit is grateful to individuals, Tsavo conservation area mobile veterinary unit who stood in for us while away and all organisations that played a role in assisting us towards achieving our goal. Many thanks to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Samuel J and Ethel Lefrak charitable trust and The Kenya Wildlife Service for their continued support to this unit which aims at immediate response to clinical intervention, wildlife rescues and alleviating wildlife suffering.