The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - March 2016

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FIELD VETERINARY REPORT FOR EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA FOR MARCH 2016

Introduction

This report describes activities of the Meru veterinary unit in March 2016. In Meru National Park two white rhinos were treated for filarial wound while in Solio ranch a Black Rhino was treated for soft tissue injuries. Disease surveillance was also carried out in Mount Kenya wildlife conservancy and a male Hartebeest was relocated to join a group of females in OlPejeta conservancy for breeding.

The unit is supported by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and provides veterinary care to wildlife in northern Kenya.

 

CASE #1 TREATMENT OF BLACK RHINO ON SOLIO RANCH

Date: 5th March 2016

Species: Black rhino

Sex: Female

Age:  10 years

Location: Solio Ranch

This black rhino was reported to have shown a staggering gait and reluctance to move even when approached on foot or by vehicle. It had also separated from its 2 year old calf. The warden in charge requested for a veterinary evaluation of the rhino to determine the cause of its ill health.

The Rhino previously with its calf  The Rhino previously spotted with calf

Chemical immobilization and examination

This rhino was darted by vehicle as it was calm on approach. For immobilization we used a combination of M99®5mg with XylazineHcl 60mg in a single 1.5cc DanInject dart syringe with a 2.2 × 60mm needle. The dart was injected into the lateral muscles of the right thigh. Induction time was 8 minutes.

Making sure the Rhino is safely immobilized  Cooling the Rhino and preparing for examination

Examination showed lacerations on its external genitalia and hind quarters suggestive of fight wounds. These wounds may have been inflicted during attempted mating and consequent calf separation. Because of soft tissue trauma the rhino was reluctant to move.

Site of the wounds  The wounds and lacerations

Treatment and prognosis

5% Flunixinmeglumine intramuscular

20% Alamycin LA by intramuscular route

Lugols iodine applied on lacerations

Cleaning the wounds  Treating the wounds

 

This rhino was reported to have recovered following treatment for minor injuries.

Preparing to reverse the anesthetic   Recovering from treatment

Coming round from anesthetic  Recovery from anesthetic

 

CASE#2 TREATING MALE RHINO FOR CUTANEOUS FILARIASIS IN MERU NATIONAL PARK

White Rhino #1

Date: 14th March 2016

Species: White Rhino

Name: Gakuya

Sex: Male

Age:  29 years

Location: Meru NP, Rhino sanctuary

History

A white rhino was treated in Meru National Park for cutaneous filarial wounds following reports from the rhino monitoring team. Affected rhinos showed extensive wounds on the skin. Treatment was required to prevent wound expansion and infection.

These new cases followed a period of prolonged rainfall in December/ January.

Chemical immobilization and examination

Darting was done from a helicopter. For immobilization we used a combination of M99® 5mg and azaperone 60mg in 1.5cc DanInject dart syringe with a 2.2 × 60mm needle. Darting site was the left gluteal muscle and induction time was 6 and 8 minutes.

Finding the Rhino for treatment   darting was done from a helicopter

Safely immobilizing

Examination showed ulcerative cutaneous wounds with serrated edges undermined by pockets of pus. Wounds emitted a foul smell due to tissue necrosis caused by bacterial infection. These wounds are characteristic of cutaneous filariasis.

Examining wound  The wound had serrated edges

Treatment and prognosis

  1. Thorough wash with water, dilute hydrogen peroxide and debridement of necrotic tissue. Tincture of Iodine soaked in gauze swabs was the applied
  2. 1% Ivermectin 300mg administered subcutaneously
  3. 20% Oxytetracycline administered intramuscularly

    The wound was filled with necrotic tissue  Wound soaked in tincture of iodine

    Packed with antibiotic cream and green clay  Preparing for reversing the anesthetic

Anesthesia effects were reversed within 3 minutes of intravenous injection of Naltrexone Hcl 150mg.

Safely reversing the anesthetic   Recovering from anesthetic

Filarial wounds respond to ivermectin and antibiotic treatment, therefore these rhinos are expected to make a speedy recovery. The rhino monitoring team will observe and report on their progress.

 

CASE#3 TREATING CUTANEOUS FILARIASIS IN MALE RHINO IN MERU NATIONAL PARK

White Rhino #2

Date: 19th March 2016

Species: White Rhino

Name: Ernest

Sex: Male

Age: 19 years

Location: Meru NP, Rhino sanctuary

History

A white rhino was treated in Meru National Park for cutaneous filarial wounds following reports from the rhino monitoring team. Affected rhinos showed extensive wounds on the skin. Treatment was required to prevent wound expansion and infection.

The Rhino was agitated prior to darting and ran some distance before going down, therefore to manage risk of hyperthermia it was doused with plenty of water. A blind fold was applied to reduce visual stress. It was then roped to right lateral recumbency for examination and treatment.

Chemical immobilization and examination

Darting was done from a helicopter. For immobilization we used a combination of M99® 5mg and azaperone 60mg in 1.5cc DanInject dart syringe with a 2.2 × 60mm needle. Darting site was the left gluteal muscle and induction time was 6 and 8 minutes.

Identifying the Rhino for treatment  Darting was done from a helicopter

Examination showed ulcerative cutaneous wounds with serrated edges undermined by pockets of pus.

Serrated edges to wound undermined by pockets of pus  Turning the Rhino for treatment

Wounds emitted a foul smell due to tissue necrosis caused by bacterial infection. These wounds are characteristic of cutaneous filariasis.

Removing necrotic tissue  Extensively cleaning the wound

Treatment and prognosis

  1. Thorough wash with water, dilute hydrogen peroxide and debridement of necrotic tissue. Tincture of Iodine soaked in gauze swabs was the applied
  2. 1% Ivermectin 300mg administered subcutaneously
  3. 20% Oxytetracycline administered intramuscularly

    Applying more tincture of iodine   Final treatments

Anesthesia effects were reversed within 3 minutes of intravenous injection of Naltrexone Hcl 150mg.

Wound packed with green clay  Assisting with revival

Filarial wounds respond to ivermectin and antibiotic treatment, therefore these rhinos are expected to make a speedy recovery. The rhino monitoring team will observe and report on their progress.

 

CASE #4 DISEASE SURVEILLANCE IN MT. KENYA WILDLIFE CONSERVANCY

Date: 16th -24th March 2016

Mount Kenya wildlife conservancy is home to a captive breeding population of endangered mountain Bongo. The conservancy aims to rehabilitate this species for future reintroduction into the wild. A disease risk assessment was carried out in sympatric bush bucks and bovine in the area to inform decisions on species reintroduction. This activity was carried out on 16th to 20th March 2016.

Four bushbucks were captured using the net capture method while three Waterbucks were darted using a combination of M99® and Domitor®. Cattle were restrained using ropes and a crush.

Drawing blood samples from bush bucks  Taking blood from four different bush bucks

Samples collected include whole blood and serum aliquoted into cryotubes and preserved in liquid nitrogen. Blood smears were also prepared and fixed using methanol and stained for microscopy. Fecal samples were collected from rectum and preserved in ethanol. Ticks on the skin were collected for parasitological studies while hair samples for genetic studies were also collected.

Drawing blood samples from Waterbucks   Collecting blood and hair samples

Results from analysis of these samples will provide information on microbial and parasitic disease situation in the area prior to species reintroduction. 

 

CASE #5 RELOCATION OF A HARTEBEEST IN OLPEJETA CONSERVANCY

Date: 27th March 2016

Species: Jackson’s Hartebeest

Sex: Male

Location: OlPejeta conservancy (OPC)

This relocation aimed to introduce a breeding male hartebeest into a group of 14 females in the conservancy and to establish a viable breeding population. These females resided in a fenced off area within OPC which is free from predators.

Identifying the Hartebeest for transportation

Capture site was in the main conservancy while the release site was a boma within the conservancy. Immobilization was achieved using a combination of M99®5mg and Stressnil®60mg delivered in a DanInject syringe with a 1.5 × 38mm needle. Induction time was 6 minutes. The hartebeest was blindfolded and loaded onto a truck. The floor of the truck was padded with dry wheat straws to prevent injury and enhance tissue blood perfusion during transport. Transport time was 35 minutes.

Preparing for transportation   Blindfolding for transportation

Skin lacerations were noted and treated appropriately using povidone iodine. Parenteral 20% Oxytetracycline was given to prevent opportunistic infection caused by transportation stress. This male was successfully released and joined with the females.

Arriving at the new destination  Treating a small wound that was found

Coming round from the anesthetic   Making a full recovery before joining the female herd