Summary During the month of August, 2011, there were several cases of wounded elephants caused by wire snares, arrows and or spears in the Mara ecosystem particularly in Koiyaki and Transmara areas
Summary During the month of August, 2011, there were several cases of wounded elephants caused by wire snares, arrows and or spears in the Mara ecosystem particularly in Koiyaki and Transmara areas. These cases were mainly attributed to incidents of human-elephant conflicts in community areas. Other cases included a buffalo found with an arrow-head stuck on the back and a buffalo rescued from a deep well in Mara plains camp in Olare-Orok conservancy, Mara. A cheetah with severe traumatic injury of unknown etiology on the left front leg was also attended to. More detailed reports of all the animal cases attended to during August are highlighted in the report below. Treatment of an injured cheetah in Koiyaki Conservancy Mara The cheetah was sighted by tourists and community wildlife scouts in Koiyaki Wildlife Conservancy, it was emaciated, weak and limping caused by an extensive injury on the left front leg. It was unable to hunt on its own and it had to be treated immediately before the condition got worse. After searching for it for sometime, the cheetah was found lying alone under a tree next to the road within Koiyaki Conservancy. Chemical restrain The cheetah was darted from a close distance using 150mgs of ketamine combined with 1.5mgs of medetomidine hydrochloride on the left thigh; it took about 6 minutes for the drug to take effect. It was then blindfolded and transferred to a cool shade under a tree from where it was examined and treated. Both the eyes were covered with opticlox eye ointment to avoid desiccation and conjunctivitis while it was recumbent. The dart was removed and dart wound treated using Opticlox eye ointment. Examination and treatment The cheetah was very much emaciated and was feeling a lot of pain on the injured leg. The vital physiological parameters were monitored and recorded as follows; respiration rate 20 cycles/minute, deep and regular, pulse rate of 120 beats/minute, strong and regular, body temperature was 37 degrees Celsius, all the mucosal membranes had pink normal colour and capillary refill time (CRT) was 2 seconds. It had some external parasites such as ticks and lion flies on the skin. The left front leg had a deep cut on the digital pad which was still bleeding and when pressed the cheetah reacted to pain, the cause of the injury could not be ascertained, but required treatment so that the animal could resume hunting. Treatment The wound at the paw was well debrided and cleaned using clean water and then 10% hydrogen peroxide; it was also topically treated using a tincture of iodine applied on it and then sprayed by oxytetracycline spray. The animal was further treated using antibiotics (Amoxycillin) Betamox and dexamethasone administered intramuscularly to counter inflammatory reactions and to reduce pain.
Samples collection Blood samples were collected in EDTA coated tubes and plain tubes coated with clot retractor and kept in a cool box, tissue and hair samples kept in ethanol solution and ectoparasites such as ticks and lion flies collected and stored in 70% ethanol. These samples have been processed and stored in KWS lab for further analysis and for health monitoring purposes. Prognosis The cheetah had fair prognosis after treatment but it required provision of food for at least a week before regaining enough strength to hunt on its own. Anaesthesia revival After treatment, the animal was revived from anaesthesia after about 45 minutes using 50mgs of Atipamezole Hcl administered intramuscularly; it took about 10 minutes to rise up. It was to be monitored on a daily basis by the Mara North community scouts who would then report on its progress regularly to the veterinarian just in case it required further treatment or any assistance to enhance its recovery. Rescue of a buffalo with an arrow stuck on the back in Koiyaki Conservancy Mara An adult male buffalo was sighted with a small arrow sticking on its back in Koiyaki Conservancy, the arrow had pierced through the shoulder muscles causing a lot of traumatic injury and pain to the animal. It was found lying in a pool of water within the conservancy. A decision was made to immobilize it and save it from the pain and suffering. The buffalo was captured by darting using 7mgs of etorphine combined with 50mgs of xylazine on the right thigh, it became recumbent after about 6 minutes, the arrow was quickly removed and the wound cleaned and treated with antibiotics. The injury was only through the soft muscular tissues of the shoulder that was not life threatening except for the pain. Blood and tissue samples were collected before revival of anaesthesia. It was then revived from anaesthesia using 12mgs of diprenorphine hydrochloride combined with 5mgs of atipamezole hydrochloride administered through the jugular vein.
Report by: Dr. Domnic Mijele