The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit
Field Report - November 2007
Postmortem examination of a juvenile male hippo in Keekorok river
This was a case of a juvenile hippo that died in a small water pool next to Keekorok lodge in Masai Mara. The carcass was found floating in the pool, it was then pulled out using ropes and postmortem examination done. It had numerous penetration wounds on the abdominal and thoracic regions, the carcass was already putrefied. The wounds could have been inflicted by other hippos and the real cause of death could have been due to lung injuries. Tissue samples were collected and preserved in absolute ethanol for DNA analysis.
Desnaring of Masai Giraffe in
This was a female adult giraffe that was found entangled by a wire round the shoulder and neck region, it was a loose wire that had not inflicted any traumatic injuries. The animal was then restrained by chemical immobilization using 13mgs of etrophine hydrochloride combined with 20mgs of Xylazine hydrochloride by darting. It went recumbent after about 5 minutes and the wire was cut off using a wire cutter, the animal was then revived from anesthesia and released feeling relieved.
Euthanasia of a common zebra with extensive traumatic injuries on the thoracic region
The case was found in Nderit farm in Naivasha, it was a case of an adult female zebra that had extensive wound on the shoulder that had been inflicted by a tight wire snare. It had stayed in this condition for quite sometime but now it could hardly move due to pain and weakness. The animal was captured by chemical immobilization, the wound was assessed and was found to have no chance of recovery. It was later on euthanized in order to alleviate pain and suffering and the carcass disposed of in the thick bush.
Hoof trimming of a common zebra in KWS Annex sanctuary
The zebra had a hoof overgrowth on the left hind limb that really interfered with its movement, we encountered this while searching for a snared zebra within that sanctuary. It was captured by darting and the hoof trimmed using a hacksaw then revived from anesthesia.
AFRICAN SWINE FEVER DISEASE SURVEILLANCE IN
Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) veterinary department in collaboration with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) initiated African swine fever (ASF) disease surveillance in
Highlights about ASF
African swine fever (ASF) is a highly contagious disease of pigs, first described in
Resevoir hosts and transmission of (ASF)
The ASF virus affects both wild and domesticated pigs and is transmitted by soft ticks of family Aragasidae, genus Ornithodoros. In
Ornithodoros corinaceus, a tick indigenous to the
ASF virus infections in the African vector Ornithodoros moubata are transmitted by transovarial and transtadial routes, whilst only transtadial transmission has been observed in the European vector Ornithodoros erraticus.
Significane and objectives of ASF surveillance
African swine fever (ASF) is classified on OIE list A, which by definition contains only diseases that have the potential for very serious and rapid spread, producing serious socio-economic consequences (OIE, 1999). The last five years (1985-1990) of the ASF Spanish eradication programme cost approximately US$92 million.
Communities living around
The main objectives of ASF surveillance is to confirm if the bush pig population within the park have ever suffered from the disease by conducting serological tests to detect ASF antibodies in serum.
To test some of the diagnostic kits that have been developed for diagnosis of ASF in both domestic and wild pigs.
If the virus is found to be circulating in Ruma bush pigs then control measures can be put in place to avoid transmission of the disease to domestic pigs that can lead to an outbreak and serious economic losses due to pig mortalities in
Methodology for bush pig capture and samples collection
Bush pigs are nocturnal animals that can only be seen late in the night, they are also extremely shy and cannot come close to humans. During day time they hide in deep thickets where they cannot be seen. These factors make it difficult to capture and handle bush pigs for sero-surveillance. In
The use of nets for capture was the most reliable method and in Ruma, the capture team managed to capture one adult female bush pig at night. The animal was found grazing in an open space within the compound, then the escape routes were sealed by the net and when the animal tried to get into the bush it got entangled onto the net. It was then physically restrained by hands and net. It was about 60kgs heavy with enlarged abdomen, suspected to be pregnant.
Blood samples were collected using a 19 gauge needle and a syringe from the femoral vein and coccygeal vein then drawn into 14ml plain tubes coated with clot retractor and EDTA coated tubes and put in a cool box overnight. Ticks were picked from the skin of the animal using rat-toothed forceps and placed in small containers and placed in a cool place. Tissue samples were also collected by cutting a small portion of the ear-pinnae. Hair samples also plucked out from the roots.
Samples storage and processing
The blood samples were centrifuged at 1500 rounds per minute for 10 minutes then serum extracted into cryovials and kept in a deep freezer for submission to the lab for analysis. Tick samples were also kept in a deep freezer, tissue samples were dissolved and kept in a freezer too.
Prevention and Control of (ASF)
Control of the disease is usually achieved by the control of tick vectors. No treatment or vaccine is available for ASF and control of this disease is based on rapid laboratory diagnosis and the enforcement of strict sanitary measures.
Depending on the epidemiological status of the disease in a particular region, different measures are recommended. In endemic areas of
The work was concluded after the animals disappeared and were difficult to locate, the intention was to capture more than 10 bush pigs but due to low numbers of bush pigs in the park and their unpredictable movement patterns and difficulties of capturing at night, the team managed to capture and collect samples from only one bush pig. The recommendations for the future work were:
The veterinary team left Ruma and went to Masai Mara to treat a lion that was reported to have eye infection and a cheetah with skin disease. Once again it was a successful month for the vet unit as all the cases reported were attended to promptly and effectively without any hitch.
Report by: Dr. Dominic Mijele