THE AMBOSELI MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - October 2014

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VETERINARY CLINICAL INTERVENTIONS FOR THE SOUTHERN CONSERVATION AREA (MVU) – OCTOBER  2014

Report by: Dr. Michael Njoroge

Monitoring and surveillance in Amboseli National Park and the surrounding ecosystem

The month of October remained generally calm with few cases requiring clinical attention. However the Southern Conservation Mobile Veterinary Unit-Amboseli remained vigilant on monitoring, surveillance, disease investigation and promptly attended to the cases that required clinical intervention.

  Elephant herd

CASE #1 TREATMENT OF SPEARED ZEBRA

Species: Zebra

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Kimana Sanctuary

Date: 9-10-14

History

A male injured zebra was spotted by Kimana Sanctuary Game Scouts whilst on patrol within the sanctuary. They contacted the Mobile Veterinary Unit who attended to the case and made a decision to immobilize and examine the zebra.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3 ml Dan-Inject dart was prepared with 7mg Etorphine Hcl and 60 mg Azerperone and the zebra darted from foot using a Dan inject® dart rifle. The zebra was immobilized after 5 minutes and fell into a stream on full immobilization and had to be recovered using ropes. The zebra was doused with plenty of water and the eyes covered with a blind fold to avoid injury.

Getting the zebra out of the stream after darting  Examining the wound

On physical examination the zebra had a spear injury to the left hip region. The wound was sceptic and necrotic. All the necrotic tissue was debrided, the wound was then thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide. Lavaging of the wound was done using tincture of Iodine. Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The zebra was then injected with 100 ml Betamox L.A and 100 ml Dexamethasone Hcl at different sites.

Cleaning the wound  Applying an antibiotic cream

Reversal

The zebra was revived using 24mg of Diprenorphine Hcl administered by IV at the jugular vein and ¼ of the dose given intramuscularly. Recovery from anaesthesia was smooth and the zebra stood up and walked away after about 5 minutes.

The wound after treatment

CASE #2 EXAMINATION OF AN INJURED ELAND

Species: Eland          

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location: Satao Elerai

Date: 09-10-14

History

A male eland was spotted by rangers and reported to have been lame and immobile within the community land. They reported to the veterinary team who attended to the case immediately for examination and treatment.

Examination

On arrival, the eland was observed to be immobile and had an open commuted fracture. The eland had also bled heavily and before any clinical intervention could be carried out the eland died of hypovolemic shock due to the heavy bleeding. It was evident that the prognosis was poor and even with clinical intervention, chances of recovery were nill.

Diagnosis

The death was caused by hypovolemic shock.          

CASE #3 TREATMENT OF INJURED ZEBRA

Species: Zebra

Age: Adult

Sex: Male

Location: Amboseli National Park

Date: 10-10-14

History

A male injured zebra was spotted by the veterinary team whilst on patrol within the park. The veterinary team immediately made a decision to immobilize and examine the zebra.

The injured zebra is darted  The wound before treatment

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan-Inject dart containing 7mg Etorphine Hcl and 60 mg Azerperone was prepared. The zebra was darted from a vehicle using a Dan inject dart rifle and was immobilized after 5 minutes. The zebra was doused with plenty of water and the eyes covered with a blind fold to avoid injury.

On physical examination the zebra had a massive injury in the right flank region, most probably caused by a predator, that was heavily sceptic and necrotic. All the necrotic tissue was debrided, the wound was then thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide. Bleeding blood vessels were ligated to prevent blood loss and shock. The wound was then lavaged using tincture of Iodine. Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection. The zebra was then injected with 100 ml Betamox L.A and 100 ml Dexamethasone Hcl at different sites.

Treatment in progress  The wound after it is cleaned and treated

Reversal

The zebra was revived using 24mg of Diprenorphine Hcl administered by IV at the jugular vein with ¼ of the dose given intramuscularly. Recovery from anaesthesia was smooth and the zebra stood up and walked away after about 3 minutes.

The zebra back on its feet

CASE #4 EXAMINATION AND EUTHANASIA OF A PARALYSED GIRAFFE

Species: Giraffe                      

Sex: Male

Age: Adult

Location Lemongo, Amboseli

Date: 11-10-14

History

A male giraffe was spotted by rangers and reported to have been lame and immobile within the community land. They reported to the veterinary team who attended to the case immediately for examination and treatment.

Examination and Treatment

On arrival, the giraffe was observed to be on a ridge where it could not move out and was obviously blind. The right eye was covered with a white mass whilst the left one had been pecked at and completely removed. Signs of paralysis were also setting in on the giraffe. It was evident that the prognosis was poor and even with clinical intervention, chances of recovery were nil.

The stuck giraffe  The blind giraffe

Prognosis

This condition could have been caused by poisonous snake venom. The Veterinary team sadly decided to euthanize the giraffe to minimise its suffering as it had no chance of recovery.

CASE #5 TREATMENT OF INJURED ELEPHANT

Name: Tom

Sex: Male

Age: 30-40 yrs

Location: Chyulu Hills

Date: 14-10-14

History

An adult male elephant was reported by Big Life as having a long standing wound to the penile region. The Mobile Veterinary Unit attended to the case and decided to immobilize the elephant.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3 ml Dan Inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl was prepared and the elephant was darted from a vehicle using a Dan inject dart rifle. The elephant was immobilized after 8 minutes and doused with plenty of water and the eye covered with the pinna of the ear. A piece of stick was placed across the trunk to keep it patent.

The immobilized elephant  Cleaning the wound to remove infection

On physical examination the elephant had a longstanding wound in the penile region (sheath). The wound was heavily sceptic, necrotic and the penile sheath had been infested with maggots. All the necrotic tissue was debrided, the wound was then thoroughly cleaned using water and Hydrogen Peroxide. It was then lavaged using tincture of Iodine. Topical antibiotic cream and green clay was then applied into the wound to facilitate healing and avoid infection.The elephant was then injected with 200ml Betamox L.A and 200ml Dexamethasone Hcl at different sites.

Applying tincture of iodine  Applying green clay

Reversal

The elephant was revived using 54mg of Diprenorphine Hcl by IV at the ear vein and ¼ dose intramuscularly. Recovery from anaesthesia was smooth and the elephant stood up and walked away after about 4 minutes.

The bull back on its feet

CASE #6 TREATMENT OF AN INJURED ELEPHANT

Name: Selegei

Sex: Male

Age: 30-35 yrs

Location: Selegei, Amboseli Ecosystem

Date: 15-10-14

History

An adult male elephant was reported lame at Selegei Porini Conservancy by the Amboseli research team. The Mobile Veterinary Unit attended the case and decided to immobilize the elephant though no physical injury could be observed.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

A 3ml Dan- Inject dart containing 18mg Etorphine Hcl (0.98%) was prepared and the elephant darted using a Dan inject dart rifle from foot due to the thick vegetation. The elephant was immobilized after 14 minutes and doused with plenty of water. The eye covered with the pinna of the ear. A piece of stick was placed across the trunk to keep it patent.

The vet prepares to dart the elephant  The elephant is immobilized quickly

On physical examination the elephant had a swollen left forelimb but no physical injury was observed leading to the conclusion that the elephant may have suffered from a fall during fighting (muscle laxation). The elephant was injected with 200ml Betamox L.A and 200ml Flunixine meglumine at different sites intramuscularly. The entire operation lasted about 30 minutes.

Examining the limb  Antibiotics and anti-inflammatories are adminstered

Reversal

The elephant was revived using 54mg of Diprenorphine Hcl administered by IV at the ear vein with ¼ of the dose given intramuscularly. Recovery from anaesthesia was smooth and the elephant stood up and walked away after about 3 minutes.

The team wait patiently for the elephant to wake up  Back on its feet

CASE #7 WILDLIFE MORTALITY INVESTIGATION

Location: Kimani Sanctuary

Date: 16-10-14

The Southern conservation area mobile veterinary unit conducted a wildlife mortality investigation at Kimana sanctuary which is within the Amboseli Ecosystem. This was after a report from the management of the death of;

  • 1 eland
  • 2 giraffes
  • 1 zebra
  • 1 waterbuck

All these mortalities had occurred within a period of one month and the animals were in good body condition (4 on a scale of 5) prior to death. The deaths had occurred close to a water point and some were frothing at the mouth prior to death. This led to the suspicion of suspected poisoning. On reaching the water point, a lot of horticultural farming was observed close to the stream. The water and area generally smelt of chemicals.

Watering point  The farms close to the water point have been using chemicals

The farmers confessed to using Danadim which is a highly poisonous Dimethoate product which led to the suspicion of water poisoning or poisoning after feeding on the farm produce.

Samples collected

The team collected water samples for submission to the government chemist so as to ascertain the concentration of the poisonous substance. Samples from the carcasses could not be collected as scavengers had already set in.

Waterbuck carcass

CASE #8 HUMAN – ANIMAL WILDLIFE CONFLICT

Location: Kimana

Date: 18-10-14

The veterinary unit attended to a case of conflict where crocodiles had been preying on sheep and goats along Kimana River which traverses along the Kimana sanctuary.

An aerial investigation was carried out using an aircraft provided by the Big Life Wildlife Trust. It was noted that farmers had diverted the Kimana River off its normal course within the sanctuary leading to crocodiles straying onto farming land.

Outcome

The Kimana sanctuary management has planned on fencing the area that is within the sanctuary to keep away farmers and humans from encroaching onto the land meant for wildlife. This will reduce the human wildlife conflict within the area of concern.

CASE #9 TESTING OF HUMAN-WILDLIFE CONFLICT CONTROL EQUIPMENT

Location: Amboseli

Date: 20-10-14

The Kenya Wildlife Service and The Big Life Wildlife Trust found it necessary to come up with a more modern and effective method of keeping elephants away from the farming areas. This called for the involvement of the Problem Animal Control and Veterinary Teams at Amboseli National Park to participate in the equipment testing. The equipments were;

  1. Pepper ball ammunition
  2. Stinking ball ammunition
  3. Explosive ball ammunition
  4. High pitched sound producer

A, B and C were shot from a vehicle using a rifle towards elephants which were close to a homestead outside the park. However, the concentration of the product intended to keep the elephants away was too minimal to be effective on the larger elephants.

The rifle used to fire the cannisters  Testing of pepper, stinking and explosive ball ammunition

The high pitched sound producer is hand held and the ranger chased away the elephants as a vehicle closely follows. This gadget was moderately effective but requires the assistance of a closely following motor vehicle.

The high pitched sound producer  Chasing an elephant away using a high pitched sound producer

The search for a more effective method continues and there are thoughts that the Anti-riot tear gas could be effective in the control of elephants that stray to community farming land.

The elephant moves away from the team

CASE #10 EXAMINATION AND EUTHANASIA OF AN INJURED ZEBRA

Species: Zebra

Age: Adult

Sex: Female

Location: Amboseli

Date: 23-10-14

History

A female injured and lame zebra was spotted by Big Life Game Scouts while on patrol within the community land of the Amboseli ecosystem. They contacted the Mobile Veterinary Unit who attended the case and examined the zebra.

Examination and euthanasia

The zebra was immobile and recumbent so immobilisation was not necessary. On physical examination the zebra had a spinal injury to the neck region. This had caused partial paralysis of the zebra. The neck was kinked, right fore and hind limb were both fully paralysed and none of the reflexes were present. A decision to euthanize the zebra was done to alleviate further suffering and pain as chances of recovery were nil.

The Southern Conservation Area Mobile Veterinary Unit is grateful to all individuals and organisations that played a role in assisting us towards achieving our goal. Many thanks to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, The Samuel J and Ethel Lefrak charitable trust and The Kenya Wildlife Service for their continued support to this unit which aims at immediate response to clinical intervention, wildlife rescues and alleviating wildlife suffering.

The zebra in a diferent position for examination  The paralysed zebra

 

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