The Amboseli Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - January 2015

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR AMBOSELI MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF JANUARY 2015

Report by Dr. Michael Njoroge

Introduction

The month of January was relatively quiet, with only a few cases requiring clinical attention. The Amboseli Vet Unit also covered the Tsavo Conservation Area during the period. The Southern Conservation Mobile Veterinary Unit-Amboseli remained vigilant throughout the period and undertook general surveillance and monitoring as well as investigating incidents of disease and attended to the cases that required clinical intervention. The Unit also followed up on previous cases.

  

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED BULL ELEPHANT

Date: 21st January 2015

Species: African Elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Male

Age: 30 -35 years

Locations: Masimba (Chyulu Hills)

History

The KWS pilot reported a case of an injured elephant to the Amboseli Vet Unit and the veterinary team attended to the case. On arrival, the elephant was found in a bush, but was relatively easy to dart using the helicopter.

  

Immobilization Examination and Treatment.

The elephant was immobilized using 18 mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride using a 3 ml Dan Inject dart toped. Darting was done from a helicopter. The elephant went down after 16 minutes onto his side. The trunk was kept open by placing a stick across the nostril entrances. The ambient temperature was high so the elephant was kept cool by dousing with water.  The ears were used as blindfold.

  

On physical examination the elephant had a penetrating wound to the left fore limb. The wound was septic, was infested with maggots and there was a lot of necrotic tissue. The wound had been caused by an arrow head, which has since fallen out.

  

The wound was thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide and was disinfected using tincture of Iodine. Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was also applied to the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The elephant was injected with 100 ml Amoxicillan, 2 vials of Clindamycin and 100 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 30 minutes.

  

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administering 54mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride into the ear vein. The elephant took about 5 minutes to be fully revived.

  

Prognosis

Prognosis is good

CASE#2 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED FEMALE ELEPHANT

Date: 13th January 2015

Species: African Elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Female

Age: 35 - 40 years

Locations: Ithumba

History

The DSWT pilot at Ithumba reported a female elephant with a snare on her right fore limb. The elephant was in thick vegetation so she had to be located and assessed from the helicopter and a light wing aircraft. Plans were made on how to immobilize the elephant to remove the snare. Thankfully despite the thick bush that the elephant was found in, it was relatively easy push her out into more open ground so that she could be darted from the helicopter.

  

Immobilization, Examination and Treatment

The elephant was immobilized using 18mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride in a 3 ml Dan Inject dart. Darting was carried out from a helicopter. The elephant went down her side after 10 minutes and her trunk was kept open using a piece of stick placed across the nostril entrances. The ambient temperature was high so plenty of water was used to douse the elephant to keep her cool. Her ears were used as a blindfold.

  

On physical examination the elephant had a snare wrapped around her right fore limb. Using a wire cutter, the approx. 1 week old snare was snipped and removed. The elephant was injected with 100 ml Amoxicillin along with 1200 mg Clindamycin and 100 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 10 minutes.

  

  

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administering 60mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride into the ear vein. Revival took about 5 minutes.

Prognosis

Prognosis is good

CASE#3 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED FEMALE ELEPHANT

Date: 13th January 2015

Species: African Elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Female

Age: 30 - 35 years

Locations: Komboyo (Tsavo West National Park)

History

The DSWT pilot reported an injured elephant to the Amboseli Vet Unit. The elephant ws initially seen in thick bush, so plans were made to sight the elephant from a light aircraft before bringing in the helicopter for darting.

Immobilization, Examination and Treatment.

The elephant was immobilized using 18 mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride using a 3ml Dan Inject dart fired from a helicopter. The elephant went down on her side after 24 minutes. The trunk was kept open using a piece of stick placed across the nostril entrances. The ambient temperature was high so the elephant was kept cool by dousing her with plenty of water. Her ears were used as a blindfold.

  

On physical examination the elephant was found to have a wound to her left lower flank region that was approximately 5 cm long and about 1 month old. The wound was septic and had necrotic tissue. An incision was made distal to the wound where there was a pus pocket to allow access and drainage of pus from the wound.

  

The wound had been caused by an arrow head, which as removed and about 0.8 kg of necrotic tissue was debrided. The wound was then thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide and then lavaged using tincture of Iodine.

  

  

Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was also applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The elephant was then injected with 100 ml Amoxicillin and 100 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 40 minutes.

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administering 54mgs of Diprenorphine Hydrochloride into the ear vein. Complete revival took about 8 minutes.

Prognosis

Prognosis is good

CASE#4 ANIMAL CONTROL

Date: 15th January 2015

Species: African Elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Various

Age: Various

Locations: Masimba (Chyulu Hills) & Kimani (Amboseli)

During January the Southern Conservation Area, which includes Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills, showed an increase in incidence of human-wildlife conflict. This has been attributed to a decrease in precipitation within the ecosystem over the period. Over the month of January, the Amboseli Vet Unit was called in to assist with two animal control operations, one carried out in Masimba and one in Kimani. The animal control operations required the use of a helicopter and Land Cruisers to drive the elephants away from from the homesteads until they were more than 10 kilometres away from areas of human habitation.

  

  

  

  

CASE#5&6 TREATMENT OF TWO INJURED ZEBRA

Date: 27th January 2015

Species: Zebra (Equus quagga burchelli)

Sex: Males

Age: Adults

Location: Amboseli National Park

History

Two male injured zebras were spotted exhibiting extreme lameness by the veterinary team while on routine patrol. The veterinary team immediately made a decision to immobilize, examine and, if necessary, treat the zebras.

  

Immobilization, Examination and Treatment

Both zebras were immobilized using 7 mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride and 60 mg azerperone in a 3ml Dan Inject dart administered from a vehicle. Full immobilization took place after 5 and 12 minutes respectively and both Zebra fell onto their sides. The zebras was blind folded and opticlox applied to the eyes to avoid damage. The darting and treatment of each zebra was done independently.

  

Zebra 1.

On physical examination the zebra had a deep and long cut to the left fore limb around the hock region, which could have been caused by an attack by a predator. The wound was septic, about 15 cm long and had gaped.

Zebra 2.

The male also had an injury to the right fore limb, which was also suspected to have been caused by a predator.

  

  

  

Both wounds were thoroughly cleaned using clean water, Hydrogen Peroxide and saline solution. The dead tissue was debrided and removed and the wound was lavaged using tincture of Iodine. Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied to the wounds to facilitate healing and prevent infection. The zebras were then injected with 50 ml Amoxicillin and 100 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The operations lasted about 20 and 35 minutes respectively.

Reversal

Reversal was achieved using 18 mg Diprenorphine Hydrochloride and took about 3 and 4 minutes respectively.

  

Prognosis

The prognosis is good.

CASE#7 TREATMENT OF INJURED MALE ELEPHANT

Date: 28th January 2015

Species: African Elephant (Loxodanta africana africana)

Sex: Male

Age: 35-40

Location: Satao (Tsavo East National Park)

History

Big Life rangers reported a case of a lame elephant in the Satao area. The Vet Unit responded to the report and made a decision to dart, examine and treat the elephant.

  

Immobilization, Examination and Treatment

The elephant was immobilized using 18 mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride in a 3ml dart toped up using the Dan Inject system by foot. The first dart failed to discharge the narcotic and hence a second dart had to be loaded. The second dart was successful and elephant went down on his side. The trunk was kept open using a piece of stick placed across the nostril entrances. The ambient temperature was high so the elephant was kept cool by dousing him with water. His ears were used as a blindfold.

On physical examination, the elephant was found to have a wound to his left hind limb that was approximately 4 cm long wound and 1-2 weeks old. It was a penetrating wound from the outer to the inner thigh that was likely to have been caused by a spear, which had dropped out over time.

  

The wound was septic and had necrotic tissue that was debrided and removed. The wound was thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide and it was lavaged using tincture of Iodine.

  

Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The elephant was injected with 100 ml Amoxicillin, 2 vials of Clindamycin and 100 ml Dexamethasone at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 45 minutes.

  

Reversal

Reversal was achieved by administration of 54mgs of Diprenorphine Hydrochloride and took about 10 minutes.

  

Prognosis

The elephant was monitoring and retreated after 2 weeks.

  

  

  

The prognosis was good.

Conclusion

The Southern Conservation Area Mobile Veterinary Unit is grateful to all individuals and organisations that played a role in assisting us throughout the year. Many thanks especially to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Samuel J and Ethel Lefrak Charitable Trust and The Kenya Wildlife Service for their continued support, which allows this unit to alleviate animal suffering by immediately responding to clinical interventions and wildlife rescues.