The Meru Mobile Veterinary Unit

Field Report - March 2017

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EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT MARCH 2017

Report by: Bernard Rono

Summary

This report describes the activities of the Meru Veterinary Unit in Northern Kenya in March 2017. Drought continues to affect many parts in the eastern part of Meru, Samburu and Laikipia. This has caused a reduction in pasture and water resources for both wildlife and livestock.

We attended to the following cases: In Meru national park a reticulated giraffe was immobilized to remove a wire snare and four elephants were treated for injuries ranging from a gunshot wound, a spear and fracture of the thigh bone.

The Meru Veterinary Unit is supported by the David Sheldrick Trust to provide veterinary care in northern Kenya.

CASE # 1: SNARE REMOVAL IN GIRAFFE

Date: 8th March 2017

Species: Reticulated giraffe

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Meru national park

History

A giraffe showing lameness caused by a debilitating snare on its left hind leg was first seen by rangers on patrol in Kinna triangle, Meru national park on 6th March 2017. Following this report the Meru vet unit searched for and immobilized this giraffe for treatment on 8th March 2017.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using a combination of Captivon® and Azaperone tartate delivered in a 1.5cc Dan-Inject dart from a vehicle. The drugs took effect after 8 minutes and it was roped to lateral recumbence for examination and treatment.

A giraffe showing lameness caused by a debilitating snare on its left hind leg  t was roped to lateral recumbence for examination and treatment

Examination showed a septic wound caused by a plain wire snare that had cut through the skin, muscle and tendons on the right metatarsal.

Treatment involved snare removal using a wire cutter, wound debridement using Hydrogen peroxide, application of iodine antiseptic and green clay paste. An antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drug was also administered.

Examination showed a septic wound caused by a plain wire snare  Treatment involved snare removal using a wire cutter

Reversal and Prognosis

Complete reversal of the anesthetic was achieved by intravenous administration of Naltrexone® hydrochloride through the jugular vein. Two minutes later the giraffe was in a standing position and ran into the bushes. We expect that the injuries will heal following removal of this harmful snare.

application of iodine antiseptic and green clay paste  We expect that the injuries will heal following removal of this harmful snare

CASE # 2: LAMENESS IN A ZEBRA

Date: 8th March 2017

Species: Common zebra

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Meru national park

History

The Vet Unit discovered this injured zebra in Meru national park while searching for a snared giraffe on 8th March 2017. The zebra showed lameness of its left hind leg.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A combination of Captivon® and Azaperone tartate was used to immobilize this zebra. The zebra was darted from a vehicle with the dart placed into the gluteal muscles. Three minutes after darting the zebra was recumbent. A blindfold was applied and the zebra was positioned on left lateral recumbence for examination.

The Vet Unit discovered this injured zebra in Meru national park  Examination showed that lameness was caused by traumatic hoof amputation

Examination showed that lameness was caused by traumatic lateral hoof amputation of its right hind leg. An abscess with a sinus tract around the coronary band was also observed. These injuries may have been caused by a snare which dropped.

The abscessed was lanced and drained and hydrogen peroxide applied  This zebra will regain good health though it will remain lame

The abscessed was lanced and drained and hydrogen peroxide applied to remove necrotic tissue. An antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drug was also administered.

Reversal and Prognosis

The effect of anesthetic was reversed by intravenous administration of Naltrexone hydrochloride through the jugular vein. This zebra will regain good health though it will remain lame due to the deformity on its leg.

CASE # 3: RELOCATION OF A CHEETAH

Date: 9th March 2017

Species: Cheetah

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Capture site: Garissa

Release site: Meru national park

A cheetah was captured by the KWS station in community land in Garissa where it was involved in livestock depredation.

A cheetah was captured by the KWS station in community land  it was involved in livestock depredation

The Veterinary Unit was present to assess the health of the animal and assist with the relocation. It was relocated to Meru national park and released along Mulika swamp.

The Veterinary Unit was present to assess the health of the animal  It was relocated to Meru national park and released along Mulika swamp

CASE # 4: SPEAR REMOVAL IN ELEPHANT

Date: 15th March 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Loisaba conservancy

History

Wildlife scouts in Loisaba conservancy, Laikipia found an elephant which had a spear penetrating into its left rump. The conservancy manager contacted Meru veterinary unit for assistance to treat this elephant.

an elephant which had a spear penetrating into its left rump  The one and a half foot spear had penetrated through the left gluteal muscles

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The Veterinary Unit found this elephant in a thicket near the Conservancy Headquarters. The terrain here was rocky so the elephant had to be driven out using vehicles to a plain open grassland area. The elephant was successfully darted from a vehicle after a brief chase using 16mg Captivon® and induction time was six minutes.

The long spear was removed carefully  The long spear was removed carefully

The one and a half foot spear had penetrated through the left gluteal muscles and was carefully removed. Necrotic tissue was removed manually and flushed with Hydrogen peroxide. Povidone iodine and green clay was also applied. A long acting antibiotic was given by intramuscular route.

Necrotic tissue was removed manually and flushed with Hydrogen peroxide  Povidone iodine and green clay was also applied

Reversal

To reverse the anesthetic effect, Naltrexone® hydrochloride was injected intravenously through the superficial ear vein. Though the injuries were life threatening if left untreated, we are hopeful this elephant will recover fully after treatment.

the injuries were life threatening if left untreated  e are hopeful this elephant will recover fully after treatment

CASE # 5: LAMENESS IN A WHITE RHINO

Date: 21st March 2017

Species: White rhino

Sex: Male

Age:  Adult

Location: Lewa wildlife conservancy

History

The Meru Veterinary Unit provided technical support to the KWS veterinarian in Lewa to immobilize and treat a white rhino which showed lameness of its right leg.

a white rhino which showed lameness of its right leg  The Meru Veterinary Unit provided technical support to the KWS veterinarian

Examination and treatment

Examination of the affected leg showed traumatic removal of the toe nail. The wound was thoroughly cleaned before iodine was used to disinfect the wound and a pressure bandage applied.  Anti-inflammatory and antibiotic drugs were also administered.

Examination of the affected leg showed traumatic removal of the toe nail  he wound was thoroughly cleaned before iodine was used to disinfect the wound

A pressure bandage was applied

Prognosis

Prognosis is good

Prognosis is good

CASE # 6: RECUMBENT ELEPHANT AT OLE NAISHU

Date:  26th March 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age:  Adult

Location: Ole Naishu ranch

History

On 26th March, the KWS senior warden in Laikipia reported that a female elephant in Ole Naishu ranch was recumbent for more than 12 hours and needed urgent veterinary assessment. This female had a calf estimated at less than 18 months old which was still dependent on its mother for nutrition and protection.

Physical examination

On arrival we found a comatose elephant with its male calf and a herd of six surrounding it. Observation showed severe emaciation, dehydration, and anemia. There was a septic wound penetrating into the muscles of the right forelimb from the medial aspect. Manipulation of the leg revealed a fracture of the radius bone. These findings are consistent with gunshot injuries.

a female elephant in Ole Naishu ranch was recumbent for more than 12 hour  On arrival we found a comatose elephant

Case management

This elephant had a poor prognosis for recovery due to the severity of the injury and we recommended euthanasia to relieve suffering. Though its male calf joined the herd, we recommended close monitoring and if it is abandoned it should be rescued and taken to an orphanage.

This elephant had a poor prognosis for recovery due to the severity of the injury  The wounds were consistent with gunshot injuries

CASE # 7: LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT IN NGILAI

Date: 27th March 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age:  Adult

Location: Namunyak conservancy, Ngilai 

Rangers in Ngilai reported severe lameness in a female elephant affecting the left hind leg. Community reported that this elephant had its leg trapped in a rocky crevice on the Mathews range but later freed itself. A veterinary assessment was required to determine the extent of injury and treat this elephant.

We tracked this elephant to a thicket in steep and rocky terrain where darting was not safe. Observation showed severe injury affecting the left hind leg, the elephant was able to walk for short distances with a hopping gait and could not charge at us even from close range. It had a huge swelling on its thigh and the thigh bone seemed unstable suggesting a fracture. Recommendation:

CASE # 8: LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT IN KALEPO

Date: 28th March 2017

Species: Elephant

Sex: Female

Age:  Adult

Location: Namunyak conservancy, Kalepo

History

Namunyak conservancy reported lameness in a lactating female elephant which had a one year old calf. We immobilized this elephant for examination and treatment on 28/03/17.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

For immobilization we used Captivon® 18mg delivered in a 3 milliliter Dan-Inject dart. The elephant was darted from foot after tracking the elephant in a lugga. Induction time was seven minutes and the elephant fell onto right lateral recumbency.

Namunyak conservancy reported lameness in a lactating female elephant  Examination showed a deformity of the left hind leg

Examination showed a deformity of the left hind leg. It had a swelling on its left stifle joint which was shorter than its right hind leg. Palpation revealed a hard mass deduced as bone. This deformity was caused by a healed dislocation/ fracture. Anti- inflammatory drugs were injected and the animal revived.

It had a swelling on its left stifle joint which was shorter than its right hind leg  This deformity was caused by a healed dislocation/ fracture

Prognosis

Both mother and calf were in good health