THE MERU MOBILE VETERINARY UNIT
REPORT FOR - October 2018

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EASTERN CONSERVATION AREA VETERINARY UNIT MONTHLY REPORT OCTOBER 2018

Report by: Bernard Rono

Veterinary Officer

Summary

This report describes the activities of the Meru Veterinary Unit in northern Kenya during the month of October 2018. The dry season continued through this month, with little rainfall received in parts of northern Kenya during the last week of October, marking the beginning of the short rains. We treated several species of wildlife including three elephant from different conservancies all showing signs of lameness and a white rhino in Solio Ranch which injured its front horn. In Garissa a reticulated giraffe was treated for snare injuries while at the Aberdare Country Club another reticulated giraffe was treated for a chronic wound on its front leg. A cheetah in Segera Ranch was treated for bite wounds and in Ngoteiya Conservancy, Laikipia a young male leopard was attacked by an older male and severely injured on its vertebral column. Details of these cases are described in the report. The Meru Veterinary unit is supported by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to provide wildlife veterinary services in northern Kenya. We would like to acknowledge the support of rangers in various conservancies who monitor and report injured wildlife for treatment and KWS management for providing logistical support to the unit.

CASE#1 LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT IN DOLDOL

Date: 11 October 2018

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male                  

Location: Doldol

History

This elephant showed severe lameness on its left hind leg over two days. It was immobilized to determine the cause of lameness and treatment.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using Etorphine Hydrochloride 12mg delivered in a 1.5cc DanInject dart into the left gluteal muscle. Induction time was 13 minutes. Examination showed a swollen left thigh with excessive mobility of the femur.

The Team examining the elephant once sedated

Manipulation showed crepitus, indicating a fracture of the femur. The cause of this fracture may be blunt force trauma sustained during a fight. Bone fractures in elephants have a poor prognosis. However, a conservative treatment approach was considered. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were administered.

The young bull had a wound on his foot  The bull had all his wounds disinfect with Iodine

Reversal and prognosis

To reverse anesthesia Diprenophine Hydrochloride was given intravenously and the elephant was assisted to standing position using ropes. Rangers were advised to monitor the young bull and report on his progress.

The bull standing post-treatment

 

CASE#2 LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT IN BORANA CONSERVANCY

Date: 13 October 2018

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male                  

Location: Borana Conservancy

Management and treatment

This elephant which showed lameness on its front right leg due to suspected fracture was previously treated by the Laikipia Veterinary Unit in Ole Nashu Ranch. The elephant crossed to Borana Conservancy where a review was conducted on the 13th of October and subsequently on the 19th of October. During this period the elephant showed progressive deterioration of its body condition and manifest pain thus affecting its welfare. The elephant was euthanized on the 19th of October to relieve him from continued suffering from an incurable fracture.

The elephant showed lameness on his right front leg

CASE#3 SNARE REMOVAL IN RETICULATED GIRAFFE

Date: 15 October 2018

Species: Reticulated giraffe

Sex: Female              

Location: Bouralghy conservancy, Garissa

History

Three giraffe were reported to have shown severe lameness in Bouralghy Conservancy in Garissa County. We examined each of these animals and found that two of them had deformities which did not require further intervention. One giraffe, a young female, had a swollen leg with a septic wound and overgrown hooves which needed further investigation.

The giraffe was spotted in a large herd

Immobilization, examination and treatment

This giraffe was darted from a vehicle. A combination of Etorphine Hydrochloride 8mg and Azaperone Tartate 30mg was used to achieve immobilization. The giraffe was roped to lateral recumbence 7 minutes after darting and restrained physically for examination. The distal aspect of the left hind leg was swollen at the fetlock with a draining wound caused by a deep snare wire. The snare had strangulated tissues causing hoof deformity. The snare was carefully removed by cutting and pulling from end to end. The septic wounds were washed and debrided, and a topical Iodine based antiseptic was applied. Parenteral antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs were also given.

The giraffe had septic wounds and deformed hoofs  The giraffe once sedated and restrained by the team for treatment

The giraffe had a snare wire embedded in her leg  Once the wire was removed the wound was cleaned and disinfected

Reversal and prognosis

Anesthesia was reversed immediately the animal was recumbent using Naltrexone Hydrochloride 120 mg administered intravenously through the jugular vein. The giraffe was assisted to standing position using ropes after treatment. We are confident it will recover and regain its full health after this treatment.

The giraffe post-treatment standing

CASE#4 LAMENESS IN RETICULATED GIRAFFE AT ABERDARE COUNTRY CLUB

Date: 19 October 2018

Species: Reticulated giraffe

Sex: Male                  

Location: Aberdare Country Club (ACC)

History

This giraffe in Aberdare Country Club (ACC) showed progressive lameness for the past 6 months. It was previously treated in May 2018. The cause of this lameness on the right forelimb was an avulsion wound around the coronary band probably from traumatic injury in the rocky terrain around the club.

The giraffe had an avulsion wound on the right fore limb

Immobilization, examination and treatment

The giraffe was immobilized with Etorphine Hcl 10mg and Azaperone Tartarate 40mg combined in one intramuscular 3ml Dan-inject dart. Six minutes later the giraffe was cast down using ropes and restrained for treatment. The wound was approximately 10CM wide and 4CM deep with loss of connective tissue.

The giraffe was sedated and restrained by the team for treatment  The wound was 10cm wide and 4cm deep

It was washed and debrided to expose the underlying healthy proliferative tissue using diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and disinfected using diluted Tincture of iodine. Green clay was smeared to hasten the healing process and the wound was covered adequately with Oxytetracycline aerosol and fly repellant. The giraffe was administered with Amoxicillin Trihydrate 15000mg and Flunixin Meglumine 1000mg administered intramuscularly. The cause of this chronic wound could not be immediately determined. No foreign body was found in the wound, however, its location on the medial aspect of the coronary band predisposes to continuous injury thus delayed healing. There is need for further investigation to determine if the phalangeal bones are affected.

The wound was cleaned and debrided  The wound was disinfected with Tincture of Iodine

Reversal and prognosis

Anesthesia was reversed using Naltrexone Hydrochloride 120 mg administered intravenously through the jugular vein. It was assisted to standing position using ropes. Prognosis for healing is fair to guarded, we therefore advised close monitoring and a review treatment within 14 days if this giraffe is seen.

The giraffe post-treatment running off

CASE#5 SPLIT HORN IN A WHITE RHINO

Date: 26 October 2018

Species: White rhino

Sex: Female              

Location: Solio Ranch

History

An adult female white rhino with a two year old calf in Solio ranch injured its rostral horn. This horn had a natural split which due to trauma injured the base of the horn. This rhino was immobilized to trim the horn to avoid further injury.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved using a combination of Etorphine and Azaperone delivered in a DanInject dart into the shoulder muscle. Darting was done from a vehicle.  An intravenous injection of Butorphanol 20mg was given when the rhino was recumbent to modulate the effect of opioid anesthesia. The rostral horn had split into a left and right section while the caudal horn was rudimentary.

The female rhino had a split horn

The right section was not firmly attached to the base and had a septic wound with maggot infestation. The left section was trimmed using a saw at approximately 7CM from the base of the horn while the right section was excised from the base of the horn including the germinal layer. The edge of the trimmed horn was smoothened with a file. The wounds were treated with diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and Povidone Iodine. Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drugs were also administered.

The rhino once sedated, being restrained for treatment  The left side of the horn was sawed off and filed down

The right section was excised from the base of the horn including the germinal layer  The wounds were treated with diluted Hydrogen Peroxide and Povidone Iodine

Reversal and prognosis

Anaesthesia was reversed by intravenous injection of Naltrexone Hydrochloride 120mg into the ear vein. Three minutes later the rhino was standing. We are confident that this rhino will make a complete recovery soon.

The rhino post-treatment running off

CASE#6 BITE WOUNDS IN A CHEETAH

Date: 27 October 2018

Species: Cheetah

Sex: Male                  

Location: Segera Ranch

History

A tour driver on a routine game drive found this cheetah in Segera Ranch which showed lameness on its left hind leg. Closer observation revealed a large wound which needed treatment. On receiving this report the Meru Veterinary team drove to Segera Ranch to treat the cheetah.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

To immobilize this cheetah we used a combination of Ketamine and Medetomidine delivered in a Daninject dart into the gluteal muscles. Three minutes later the cheetah was recumbent. Examination showed deep bite wounds with sepsis on the lateral aspect of the left leg affecting the soft tissue.

The cheetah once sedated  The cheetah had deep wounds on his left hind leg

Manipulation did not show bone or joint damage. In the inguinal area patchy hair loss with red scaly skin caused by suspected parasitic infestation was observed. The wound was treated locally by shaving the hair, debridement and application of topical antibiotic. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were also injected. Ivermectin injection was administered to treat parasitic infection.

The cheetah had wounds on the inside on his leg  The wounds were cleaned and disinfected

Reversal and prognosis

Anaesthesia was reversed one and half hours later by intramuscular injection of Atipamezole. The cheetah was monitored until it was fully recovered from anesthesia. It is expected to recover quickly from its injuries.

The cheetah awake post-treatment

CASE#7 LAMENESS IN ELEPHANT IN LAIKIPIA NATURE CONSERVANCY

Date: 29 October 2018

Species: Elephant

Sex: Male                  

Location: Laikipia Nature Conservancy (LNC)

History

A young male elephant which was part of a large herd in the centre dam of Laikipia Nature Conservancy showed a swollen front right leg and severe lameness. Following the report on 29th October 2018 the DSWT dispatched an aircraft with a veterinarian and one capture ranger from the Meru Vet Unit to examine and treat the elephant.  

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Darting was done from a helicopter due to the dense vegetation in the area. A dart containing Etorphine hydrochloride 10mg was delivered into the dorsal aspect of the left lumbar muscle. Induction time was 9 minutes. Examination showed a septic wound on the right elbow joint approximately 3 CM wide by 15CM deep. Probing with forceps showed that the wound did not penetrate into the joint capsule. Probable cause was a spear injury. The wound was debrided with diluted Hydrogen Peroxide to remove pus and Povidone Iodine was used to disinfect the wound. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs were also administered.

The elephant had a septic wound on the right elbow

Reversal and Prognosis

After treatment anesthesia was reversed by intravenous injection of Diprenophine Hydrochloride 36mg. Two minutes later the elephant was standing. There is plenty of vegetation and water in this area for this elephant, which is expected to make a complete recovery in the coming days.

CASE#8 INJURED LEOPARD IN NGOTEIYA CONSERVANCY

Date: 29 October 2018

Species: Leopard

Sex: Male                  

Location: Ngoteiya conservancy

Rangers on patrol at Ngoteiya Conservancy found a recumbent one year old male leopard. They reported that it was unable to move and requested for an examination and treatment of this leopard. The leopard was severely dehydrated and comatose. Examination showed bite wounds along the vertebral column at the mid thoracic vertebrae. Manipulation revealed fracture of vertebrae with paralysis of the hind legs and abdominal muscles. The bite wounds were inflicted by a male leopard consistent with infanticidal behavior observed in this species. Since the injuries could not be treated the comatose leopard was euthanized by intravenous administration of Pentobarbital Sodium.

The leopard was found dehydrated comatose

CASE#9 PROPHYLACTIC TREATMENT FOR CANINE TRYPANOSOMIASIS

A KWS tracker dog in Meru National Park was given preventive treatment against canine trypanosomiasis which is prevalent in the park. Triquin® 1ml was injected by subcutaneous route and is expected to give 3 months cover against trypanosomiasis.

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