The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - June 2015

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR TSAVO MOBILE VET UNIT FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 2015

Reported By Jeremiah Poghon

Introduction

June was a relatively calm month similar to the month of May. Cases handled included treatment and repeat treatment of a former elephant orphan at Ithumba stockades, treatment of a buffalo bull with fetlock arthritis of the foot in Salt Lick sanctuary, examination of an injured elephant bull and rescue of an elephant calf that fell into a water hole at Tsavo East pipeline area.

CASE#1 TREATMENT OF AN ELEPHANT WITH AN ARROW WOUND

Date: 5th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Sub Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Ithumba Elephant Stockade

History

This partially independent elephant orphan was escorted back to the stockade by two former orphans with a deep penetrating wound to the rib cage and another near the spinal ridge. The vet team was airlifted to Ithumba by the DSWT pilot and found the elephant restrained in a boma.

Suguta the orphan elephant has an arrow injury  Suguta returns to DSWT Ithumba Stockade for treatment

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using 12 mgs of Etorphine in a 1.5 cc Dan-inject dart propelled by an air operated Dan inject dart gun and the elephant went down in 6 minutes.

Suguta is darted so her wounds can be examined throughly  Suguta with her trusted keepers

Probing of the wound revealed a deep penetrating wound that went past the rib cage. No foreign body was felt inside but due to the nature of the wound a tentative diagnosis of a penetrating arrow wound was made.

The vet probes the wound for foreign objects  The vet team assess the extent of the injury

An X- ray machine was requested to ensure there was no foreign body lodged in the lung. Meanwhile the wound was cleaned and long acting Amoxicillin and Dexamethasone were administered intramuscularly and by slow intravenous injection.

The reversal is injected through the ear vein  The reversal is injected through the ear vein

Prognosis

A week later the X-ray machine arrived as well as a metal detector but nothing was revealed inside the elephant. A repeat treatment was done and so far the elephant is progressing well.

The keepers help Suguta to her feet  Suguta is recovering well

CASE#2 EXAMINATION OF AN ELEPHANT

Date: 17th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Tsavo East  Park HQ

History

DSWT desnaring teams based at Voi reported an elephant bull with what appeared to be a swelling and pus oozing from a small wound to the abdominal wall. The vet team rushed to the location and found the elephant foraging and a closer look revealed an old arrow wound that was in the process of healing and didn’t warrant elephant immobilization as it would finally heal on its own. Monitoring was advised as the bull is a resident of the area.

An elephant with an injury is monitored  The injury is healing well

CASE#3 TREATMENT OF A LAME BUFFALO

Date: 20th June 2015

Species: Buffalo

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Salt Lick Sanctuary

History

A report was made to the unit by rangers from Taita salt lick sanctuary team of a lame buffalo near the hotel compound. The team rushed in to find the massive bull lying down in tall grass.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using 8mg Etorphine and 60 mgs of Xylazine in a 1.5 ml Dan - inject dart from a vehicle with a Dan inject dart rifle. The Buffalo was immobilized after 7 minutes and topped up with 2 mgs Etorphine as the initial immobilization was not enough.

A buffalo is anaesthetised for treatment  The eyes are covered whilst the vet examines the wound

The front limb fetlock joint was swollen and warm to the touch. No wound was seen to the leg so a tentative diagnosis of fetlock joint inflammation was given. Long acting Amoxicillin and Dexamethasone were administered parenterally.

The joint is swollen  The vet administers medication

Reversal

The anesthetic was reversed using Diprenorphine at 3 times the Etorphine dose mixed with 0.5 cc Atipemazole administered intravenously.

Prognosis

Prognosis is good.

CASE#4 RESCUE OF AN ELEPHANT CALF

Date: 27th June 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Infant

Sex: Unknown

Location: Voi, Tsavo East

History

A temporary water hole was created by leakages along the Mzima-Mombasa water pipeline that was subsequently made deeper by elephants digging activity at the site. It provides water for elephants staying near the park headquarters during the dry season when most of the water holes are dry. Visitors to the area reported an elephant calf that was struggling to climb over the walls.

The calf cant escape the high sided waterhole  A young elephant is stranded

The vet team together with the Voi stockade team rushed to the location to find the calf stuck in the water hole with the mother trying to extract it.

The team extract the calf  The mother is protective over her calf

The herd was pushed away and the calf rescued and re united with his family.

The calf runs to meet his family  The little calf's family waits anxiously

 Conclusion and acknowledgement

The unit would like to appreciate the support of its sponsors ViER PFOTEN through the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) for their continued support.  We also thank Kenya Wildlife Service through the Assistant director Tsavo conservation area and the head, veterinary and capture services department for their contribution.