Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit - November 2013

Introduction          The month was increased precipitation with most afternoons experiencing heavy downpour


The month was increased precipitation with most afternoons experiencing heavy downpour. There was also a drop in the number of cases requiring veterinary intervention. Of the three cases attended only one was within the reserve, the other two were outside protected areas.

The following are cases handled during the period under review;

 Case#1 Post mortem of a female leopard.

Date: 9th Nov 2013


The warden in charge of Masai mara national reserve informed the mobile veterinary team that his patrol team had come across a dead female leopard at Olkiombo area. He requested the services of the veterinary team to ascertain the cause of death.

General examination.

The leopard was found lying on right lateral recumbency under a tree, about 20metres from Talek River. She appeared to have been in perfect body condition with all canines intact and no visible physical injuries. There was no evidence of struggle before death on the scene and she had a slight bloody discharge from the nostrils. The estimated time of death was 18-24hrs with rigor mortis beginning to disappear.

Post mortem

On opening the carcass the following were noted;

  • The mucosa appeared cyanotic.
  • The carcass was in good body condition with adequate fat and muscle cover.
  • Blood was clotted and gritty in consistency.
  • A female and male cub who about term were found insitu distributed on either horns of the uterus.
  • The liver  appeared friable and both lungs were hemorrhagic.
  • The skull and the brain were intact.
  • Of significance was hematoma on the right side of her neck that was also discernible on the subcutaneous surface of the skin at the point.
  • All other organs grossly appeared normal.

Post mortem diagnosis.

From the above postmortem examination this leopard could have died as a result of snake bite. The location of the bite was on the right side of the neck where the hematoma was evident. 

Case#2 Rescue and treatment of a male buffalo

Date: 17th November 2013 Location: Talek gate Sex:Male Age: Adult


This lone buffalo was spotted by Masai mara game rangers stuck in the mud while trying to drink from Talek river. The buffalo could not pull himself out of the mud and was becoming weary by the day. The rangers informed the mobile veterinary team who responded immediately.

General examination

The buffalo appeared weak, left horn and both front limbs were wholly trapped in mud. The hind limbs were partially trapped. He had an old spear wound which was discharging ingesta on his left flank. Fresh cut wounds were visible on the right thigh.

Treatment and rescue

Since this buffalo was weak and trapped it was not necessary to immobilize it chemically. Instead treatments were instituted insitu. All wounds were lavaged with copious amount of water and iodine used to disinfect, green clay was applied and  6000mg Amoxycillin antibiotic given i.m.

Rescue was achieved by roping and manually pulling him out of the mud. This was done by the help of people to a safer ground. The buffalo was left standing to regain energy before moving.



Case #3 Treatment of injured female giraffe

Date: 17th November 2013

Location: Oldonyo Rinka

Sex: Female

Age: Adult


Mara elephant project scouts spotted this giraffe in a herd and informed the mobile veterinary unit on the ground. The giraffes were in a community area in Oldonyo Rinka.

General examination

The giraffe was in good body condition though agitated. She was in a herd of about ten giraffes in a relatively open area. An arrow could be seen sticking out from lateral surface of its right limb. She had a slight limp.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by administration of 13mg Etorphine Hcl and 40mg xylazine Hcl delivered through a 3ml Dan inject dart. It took eight minutes for the drug to take full effect and giraffe assumed a left lateral recumbency position. The arrow was removed; wound was thoroughly washed with copious amount of water, hydrogen peroxide and lugol’s iodine applied. Green clay was then applied.6000mg Amoxycillin antibiotic was administered i.m. In addition 20mg Dexamethasone sodium anti-inflammatory was administered i.m. 


Achieved by giving 42mg diprenorphine and 5mg atipamizole all in one syringe through the jugular vein. Giraffe woke up in 1min with no complications.




The Mara mobile veterinary unit appreciates the incredible support offered to it by David Sheldrick wildlife trust (DSWT) and Kenya wildlife service (KWS). Their continuous collaboration has been instrumental in alleviating unnecessary wildlife suffering.

Report by: Dr.Campaign K. Limo