The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - August 2015

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR MASAI MARA FOR MONTH OF AUGUST 2015.

By Dr.Campaign K. Limo

Introduction

The period under review, like the past three months, had few cases requiring veterinary intervention. There was reduced precipitation and this coincided with the annual wildebeest migration from Serengeti to Masai Mara. Many of these animals are now spread all over Mara National Reserve and surrounding conservancies becoming a big attraction to tourists. Three of the cases handled during the month were as a result of spearing, a situation which had subsided for the past couple of months.

The following are cases handled during the month;

CASE#1 ELEPHANT BULL WITH A SPEAR INJURY

Date: 5th August 2015

Species: African elephant

Age: Young adult

Sex: Male

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve. (Hammer kop area)

History

This young bull was seen by the county government security patrol team with a group of other elephants limping and with visible injury to his left front limb. They informed the veterinary unit for intervention.

This bull was found alone, isolated from the rest of the herd under a tree in a small bush at the confluence of two luggas.He appeared nervous and limped away to a more dense area in between the two luggas when approached. The wound was visible on the lateral surface of his left carpus with slight suppuration.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 17mgs Etorphine hydrochloride delivered through a 3ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. It took two vehicles, one on either side of the luggas, to guide this elephant to a relatively open area for darting. It took about ten minutes for the elephant to be fully anaesthetized falling on his left side. He had to be flipped over using ropes and a vehicle in order to access the wound. The wound was less than a week old with some degree of suppuration. This was as a result of spearing. Luckily; the injury was confined to soft tissues.

The elephant is darted  The wound is thoroughly cleaned

The wound was cleaned with copious amounts of water and debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide. It was wiped dry with sterile gauze swabs before tincture of Iodine was applied to disinfect the area. Green clay was packed into the wound to absorb toxins and quicken healing. Additional treatments involved parenteral administration of 22500mgs of Amoxicillin anti biotic and 5000mgs Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatory.

The vet assess the wound to the leg  Green clay is applied to the wound to facilitate healing

Reversal

Reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by administration of 42mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride intravenously through a superficial ear vein. He rose in four minutes and walked away.

The elephant gets to its feet  The prognosis is good for a full recovery

Prognosis

Good.

CASE#2 DESNARING A ZEBRA

Date: 11th August 2015

Species: Common zebra

Age; Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve (Olkiombo area)

History

This zebra, among the migratory herd was seen and reported to us by the Mara Reserve warden based at Olkiombo airstrip. She had a strangulating wire which had created a wound round her neck. This had compromised her health as she appeared debilitated though she could be seen grazing. She was in a herd of other zebras.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The zebra was chemically restrained by use of a combination of 5mgs Etorphine hydrochloride and 50mgs Azaperone tartarate delivered through a 1.5ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. The drugs took effect after eight minutes and she was blindfolded with eye ointment applied to both eyes. The snare which was a braided cable wire had eaten into the neck muscles but had not reached the cervical bones.

A zebra is seen with a serious injury to the neck  The resultant wound has to be cleaned and treated

The wire was released and resultant wound cleaned with copious amounts of water, debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide and disinfected with tincture of Iodine. Topical Oxytetracycline wound spray was then applied. Additional treatments involved intramuscular administration of 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 30mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatory.

The zebra is darted so the snare can be removed  The vet team at work

Reversal

Reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by intravenous administration of 18mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride through the jugular vein.

The blindfold is removed and the anaesthetic reversed  The zebra returns to its herd

Prognosis

Good because the wire had eaten into neck muscles but had not reached the cervical bones.

CASE#3 TREATING A SPEARED LIONESS

Date: 14th August 2015

Species: Lion

Age: Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Masai Mara National Reserve (Maji ya Fisi area)

History

This lioness was seen with six other lions heading to a small thicket appearing to be returning from a hunt. She had an injury to her left front limb which looked fresh. The warden at Talek Gate called the Veterinary Unit to treat this lioness.

The lioness was nervous when approached and was elusive throughout before being darted. She had a fresh open wound to her right shoulder and appeared to be older than most of the other pride members. She was the mother of most of the pride members.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilisation was achieved by use of a combination of 4mgs Medetomidine hydrochloride and 250mgs Ketamine hydrochloride delivered in a 3ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle after half an hour of tracing. The drugs took full effect after ten minutes with the other pride members being scared away to give the team an opportunity to attend to her. A Blindfold was put in place and topical eye ointment put on both eyes to prevent corneal desiccation.

The lion has a spear wound to the shoulder  The wound is treated

Examination revealed a fresh wound less than 12hours old to her left shoulder. This wound was consistent with spearing and she could have been a victim of human wildlife conflict. The wound was cleaned with sterile water and surgical spirit before deep and subcutaneous sutures were put in place. Skin margins were shaved and a simple interrupted suture with vicryl material was used. Each layer of sutured tissue was infused with tincture of Iodine and cCoxacillin ointment to prevent infection.

After cleaning the wound the vet can stitch it  The vet stitches the wound closed

In addition, this lioness was given 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotics intramuscularly and 80mgs Ivermectin parasiticide subcutaneously.

Reversal

Reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs Atepamezole Hydrochloride one and a half hours after immobilization.  She woke up after seven minutes to join the rest of the pride members.

Prognosis

This lioness is expected to make full recovery.

CASE#4 TREATING A SPEARED ELEPHANT

Date: 18th August 2015

Species: Elephant

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Naboisho Conservancy

History

This massive bull was seen by Naboisho Conservancy Manager with two other bulls. He reported to the Veterinary Unit that he had a big wound on his right flank. The team found the bull near a small thicket feeding leisurely and still in the company of two other bulls. He was the biggest of the three with big tusks. He had a big relatively fresh wound to the upper side of his right flank.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of 17mgs Etorphine hydrochloride remotely delivered through a 3ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. He moved for a while before the drugs took full effect after eight minutes, where he fell on his right side. It took the effort of two four wheel drive vehicles to turn him over in order to access the wounded area.

The elephant is darted for treatment after assessment  This male has large tusks and has a spear injury

The wound was relatively fresh, about four days old and caused by spearing. Some tissue was hanging from the wound which appeared to be from damaged muscle. The exposed necrotic part of this tissue was trimmed off leaving behind fresh areas.

The vet has to remove hanging tissues  The tissue that is removed from the wound

The wound was lavaged with plenty of water, debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide and rinsed with clean water. Tincture of Iodine was used to disinfect the wound before packing it with green clay.

Green Clay is applied to the wound  The elephant is given antibiotics and the anaesthetic is reversed

Additional treatments involved parenteral administration of 30000mgs of Amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatory.

Reversal

Reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by administration of 48mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride through a superficial ear vein. He woke up after four minutes and joined the other bulls.

The elephant gets to its feet after treatment  The elephant is given a good prognosis

Prognosis

Good

CASE#5 TREATING SIENA THE LIONESS FOR FIGHT INJURIES

Date: 23rd August 2015

Species: Lion

Age: Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Masai Mara National reserve (Musiara area)

History

This lioness, named Siena, has had some nasty injuries before including a nearly fatal gore by a cape buffalo almost two years ago. This time round, Governors Lodge Manager called us after Siena was seen with fresh wounds to either side of her flanks and left hind limb. She was reported to have disappeared for four days before reappearing with these wounds. They called to request for Veterinary intervention.

Sienna was found alone a few meters from other members of the pride, emaciated and in great pain. She was lying under a small tree in thick grass. When agitated to stand and move, she did so reluctantly and in obvious pain. Both sides of her flanks had big wounds which appeared to have been from a fight with another lion. The already healed wound caused by buffalo gore on her right flank was ripped open.

Sienna's old injury has opened up again  The wound is already infested wit maggots

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by use of a combination of 4mgs Medetomidine and 250mgs Ketamine delivered in a 3ml dan-inject dart from a vehicle. The drugs took full effect after eight minutes and a blindfold was put in place with Cloxacillin ointment put on both eyes.

After making sure she was stable, elaborate examination of the wounds was carried out. Apart from the wounds to her flanks, her left hind leg and tail had several bite wounds. The wounds appeared to have been caused four days before intervention. She also looked significantly dehydrated and was rehydrated using Polyionic Ringer’s Lactate.

Though the wound on her right flank was dry, it was deep and required stitches. The wounds on the hind leg had a maggot infestation and the maggots were manually removed. All the wounds except the one on the right flank were debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide, rinsed with clean water and disinfected with tincture of Iodine.

The vet cleans the wounds  Deeper areas require stitches

The dry wound to the right flank was irrigated with tincture of Iodine after the deeper areas were stitched. All the wounds were then packed with green clay and she was given parenteral administration of 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotics and 80mgs Ivermectin parasiticide to control internal and external parasites, including maggots.

The wound is thoroughly cleaned  Green clay is applied into the wound

Reversal

Reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by intramuscular administration of 15mgs Atepamezole Hydrochloride two hours after immobilization. She woke up ten minutes after reversal.

The blindfold was removed  Sienna later in the evening do well after treatment

Prognosis

Guarded

CASE#6 INJURED LEOPARD

This male leopard is a resident at Mara Serena crossing and was seen with an injury to his left hind leg possibly from a fight with baboons. Several attempts to locate and assess him for possible treatment were unsuccessful as he could not appear in the open.

Conclusion

Mara mobile unit would like to thank all members of public and stakeholders who helped report and monitor cases that required veterinary intervention. We are grateful to KWS and Minara Foundation through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust for their collaboration and great help to the unit which has seen many wildlife species saved from unwarranted sufferings.