The Tsavo Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - February 2007
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Incidences of animal injury are still low thanks to the availability of food and water in the protected areas following the above normal rains late last year and early part of 2007. Just like in January, we had two cases reported to the unit this month. The first was a male cheetah with bite/fight wounds at the hindquarters at Aruba probably from another male cheetah. It was reported to us on the 6th by tour drivers/guides who saw it limping and with blood stained hindquarters. We could not tell what the problem was from a distance until we immobillised it.
Initially we thought it had been gored by an antelope. The puncture wounds were multiple but fresh and superficial. There was minimal soft tissue damage. The wounds were cleaned and topically treated and a systemic antibiotic administered.
We also provided the animal with some goat meat to provide necessary strength during recuperation when it could not hunt. We monitored it closely and by the end of the second day, it seemed to have recovered as it was walking without any difficulties.
The other case, which was of an elephant bull with an old arrow injury on the left thigh, was on the 20th. The injury was heavily infected; a lot of pus was drained out.
It was also very swollen, with much of the swelling being very firm due to fibrosis. Probing did not reveal any foreign object inside. Multiple incisions were made to create drainage for any pus which we could not have removed.
Hydrogen peroxide was used to lavage/flush the injury to enable removal of foreign material and reduce bacterial load. Dilute Lugol’s Iodine was then infused deep into the injury. Very high doses of a long acting Amoxicillin antibiotic preparation (Betamox LA®) were injected at multiple sites.
We have not been able to see this elephant again but we are looking for it to find out the response to treatment. During the month, we also visited Ndara ranch to examine the animals translocated there mid last year from Bamburi’s Haller park. This consisted of 5 elands, 3 waterbucks
and 6 oryx.
A female eland died in September 2006. Post-mortem lesions were consistent with poisoning, probably from plants. One female oryx was reported to have escaped and disappeared in January 2007 never to be found again while they were being grazed in the Sagalla lodge compound. The remaining animals are so far doing very well. They looked healthy and an eland and a waterbuck gave birth in January 2007.
The Mobile Veterinary Unit operated by The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust working with The Kenyan Wildlife Service and funded by Vier Pfoten