The period under review was characterised by long dry spells with occasional sporadic showers.
Migratory wildebeest are still spread all over the ecosystem. Fodder and water are still plenty for grazers and browsers with predators frequently sighted stalking the migratory wildebeests. There were fewer cases attended over the month compared to the previous month.
CASE#1 INJURED LIONESS
Date: 12th Sept2018
Species: African lion
Location: Olololo area (Mara Triangle)
History: This lioness was seen isolated from the main pride and reluctant to move by Mara Triangle Rangers. She appeared to be injured and they called the mobile veterinary unit for assessment.
Immobilization, examination and treatment: This lioness was seen in a small thicket near a stream .She appeared to be in a lot of pain as she was reluctant to move on agitation. She had multiple bite wounds thought to have been occasioned by territorial conflicts with rival prides. She was restrained chemically by use of a combination of 4.8mgs Medetomidine Hydrochloride and 200mgs Ketamine Hydrochloride delivered through a 3ml daninject dart.Darting was done from a vehicle. It took ten minutes for the drugs to take full effect with the lioness assuming sternal recumbency. She was carried out from the thicket and placed under a shade.
Examinations revealed she was heavily gravid but in good body condition, apart from the recent fight injuries. These were 2-3day old injuries with maggots beginning to infest. The wounds were caused by fight with other lions. All the wounds were cleaned and debrided with Hydrogen Peroxide. The maggots were removed manually. Cloxacillin antibiotic ointment was infused after Tincture of Iodine disinfectant was applied. Additional treatments include parenteral administration of 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 80mgs Ivermectin parasiticide. She also received 14mgs Dexamethasone sodium anti-inflammatory.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed with Yohimbine, which was administered intravenously. She woke up in eight minutes and was later on joined by her pride members who came to check on her. Prognosis for full recovery is good.
CASE#2 INJURED ELEPHANT
Date: 16th Sept 2018
Species: African elephant
Location: Oloisukut Conservancy
History: This big male in a herd of ten elephants was seen with an injury on the inner side of his left hind leg by Oloisukut Conservancy patrol team. They informed their manager who called the Veterinary Unit for intervention. This male was spotted with the herd browsing near Mara River within the Conservancy.
Immobilization, examination and treatment: Immobilization was achieved by use of 16mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride delivered through a 3ml daninject dart. Darting was carried out from a vehicle with this elephant becoming fully immobilized after ten minutes.
He assumed right lateral recumbency. Examination revealed a spear wound approximately three days old on his left thigh. This wound was slightly septic with hanging skin tissue that was surgically removed. This wound was cleaned and all necrotic tissues were removed with the help of Hydrogen Peroxide. After rinsing the wound with clean water, Tincture of Iodine was used for disinfection with green clay being packed to help prevent sepsis and hasten healing. Other treatments given include intramuscular injection of 30000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 5000mgs Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatories.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed with 42mgs Diprenorphine, which was administered through a prominent ear vein. He woke up three minutes after reversal to join his herd whom were patiently waiting. Prognosis for full recovery is good.
CASE#3 INJURED LION
Date: 17th Sept 2018
Species: African lion
Location: Sand River area of Masai Mara National Reserve
History: This big male was seen with injuries near Sand River within Masai Mara National Reserve by a tour guide. They informed the County security rangers and the Mobile Veterinary Unit for assistance. This big male, with a large mane, was found lying in the shade under a tree. He appeared reluctant to move on agitation but finally stood briefly and moved, he was evidently in great pain. He had several fight wounds with a serious bite on his right thigh.
Immobilization, examination and treatment: Restraint was achieved chemically by use of a combination of 6mgs Medetomidine Hydrochloride and 250mgs Ketamine Hydrochloride delivered through a 3ml daninject dart. Darting was carried out from a vehicle. It took eleven minutes for this lion to be fully anaesthetized.
A blind fold was put in place after an eye ointment against desiccation was applied. After moving him into the shade, the examination was conducted. This lion had been attacked by rival nomadic males inflicting injuries on several parts of his body. Serious bite wounds were noted on his right thigh. These wounds were less than 24hours old.
Clean water and sterile swabs were used to clean these wounds before Tincture of Iodine was applied as disinfectant. Cloxacillin antibiotic ointment was then applied to prevent sepsis. Other treatments included the administration of 3000mgs Amoxicillin antibiotic and 16mgs Dexamethasone Sodium anti-inflammatories given intramuscularly.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed by administration of Yohimbine intravenously one hour after immobilization. He woke up after ten minutes and moved to a nearby small thicket. Prognosis for full recovery is good.
CASE#4 INJURED ELEPHANT COW
Date: 19th Sept 2018
Species: African elephant
Location: Mara Bushtops Area (Siana Conservancy)
History: This young mother of about 25 years was seen with a septic wound near Mara Bushtops Camp in Siana Conservancy by the Elephant Aware rangers with Mara BushTops security team. They called the Mobile Veterinary Unit for intervention. This cow was seen in the company of another ten elephants assumed to be members of a family. She had an approximately two and a half year old calf. The wound was on the left side of her flank slightly off the spine.
Immobilization, examination and treatment: Restraint was achieved by use of 15mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride delivered through a1.5ml daninject dart from a vehicle. She was fully anaesthetised ten minutes post darting and she assumed right lateral recumbency. After positioning her well, the examination was conducted revealing a deep severely infected spear wound. This injury could have occurred a week before intervention and was about two feet deep. Luckily, no vital organs were damaged.
This wound was probed with no foreign object detected. The accumulated pus was completely drained and all necrotic tissue removed with the help of Hydrogen Peroxide and gauze swabs. A copious amount of water was used to rinse the wound before Tincture of Iodine was applied for disinfection. To prevent further sepsis and hasten healing, green clay was applied. Other treatments carried out included the intramuscular administration of Amoxicillin antibiotics and Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatories.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed by administration of 42mgs of Diprenorphine Hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. She was up within three minutes of reversal to join her family members waiting nearby with her calf. Prognosis for full recovery is good. The ground teams were advised to closely monitor her and report her progress.
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CASE#5 INJURED ELEPHANT BULL
Date: 22nd Sept 2018
Species: African elephant
Location: Olarro Conservancy
History: This young bull, about 16 years, was seen with an arrowhead sticking on his lower right abdomen by Olarro Conservancy, Mara Elephant Project and KWS Rangers on their joint patrol. He was one in a herd numbering hundreds currently in Olarro Conservancy. They called the Mobile Veterinary Unit for intervention.
Immobilization, examination and treatment: Immobilization was achieved by use of 15mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride delivered through a 1.5ml daninject dart. Darting was carried out from a vehicle. It took eight minutes for the drugs to take full effect with this young bull assuming right lateral recumbency. He was turned over to access the injury. This was a freshly lodged arrowhead on his lower abdomen which was gently worked out as it had barbs.
Examination revealed it could have been laced with poison. The wound was thoroughly debrided with the help of Hydrogen Peroxide, rinsed with clean water and disinfected with Tincture of Iodine. Cloxacillin antibiotic ointment was infused and finally packed with green clay to absorb toxins and hasten healing. Other treatments administered included parenteral administration of Amoxicillin antibiotics and Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatories.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed by the intravenous administration of 42mgs Diprenorphine Hydrochloride through a prominent ear vein. He was up within three minutes of reversal to join the rest of the herd. Prognosis for full recovery is good.
CASE#6 EXAMINATION OF A DEAD ELEPHANT
Date: 22nd Sept 2018
Species: African elephant
Age: Adult (45- 50 years)
Location: Masai Mara National Reserve (Survey area)
History: The carcass of this old elephant was seen by the County Rangers on their patrol. Both tusks were intact and they requested the Mobile Veterinary Unit services to establish cause of death.
General observation of the carcass: This was an old carcass estimated at ten days and partly scavenged. All internal organs had already been consumed leaving a shell. Only the bony frame and skin which appeared callus remained. All the molars were highly degraded due to wear and tear from extensive use due to her age.
Conclusion: Owing to the prevailing state of the carcass, the cause of death could not be ascertained grossly. No viable samples for analysis could be collected either.
CASE#7 DYSTOCIA IN A GIRAFFE
Date: 26th Sept 2018
Species: Maasai giraffe
Location: Double cross (Maasai Mara National Reserve)
History: This giraffe was seen by the County Rangers on patrol with partially expulsed foetus. History gathered was that this mother for 24 hours had been unable to completely push the foetus at term. She was found in company of her sub adult daughter restless and struggling to push the foetus which was already dead. The head and part of the neck was protruding. This was an emergency as she had to be relieved before she got exhausted and avoid further complications such as uterine sepsis.
Immobilization, examination and management: Restraint was achieved by use of a combination of 13mgs Etorphine Hydrochloride and 60mgs Azaperone delivered through a 1.5ml daninject dart. Darting was done from a vehicle. After the drugs took full effect, she was roped down for effective restraint. Examination revealed a dead foetus partially expulled anteriorly presented but with bilateral carpal flexion posture.
With copious lubrication, the foetus was retropulsed, the posture corrected, the head, neck and front limbs aligned and pulled out gently on extended posture. This was a relatively fresh but dead male foetus. The foetal membranes were manually removed and uterus infused with Tincture of Iodine to prevent infection. Other treatments given include Amoxicillin antibiotics and Flunixin Meglumine anti-inflammatories given parenterally. A muscle tonic against exhaustion was also given intramuscularly.
Reversal and prognosis: Anaesthesia was reversed by administration of 42mgs Diprenorphine given intravenously through the jugular vein. She rose up relieved to join her daughter who was watching at a distance. Prognosis for full recovery is good.
CASE#8 POST MORTEM OF A YOUNG ELEPHANT BULL
Date: 27th September 2018
Species: African elephant
Age: Approximately 15 years
Location: Mara North Conservancy/Masai Mara National Reserve border.
History: The carcass of this young bull of about 15 years old was seen by Mara North, Mara Elephant Project and KWS Rangers on their normal patrols at the border of Masai Mara National Reserve and Mara North Conservancy.
Nobody reported seeing this elephant sick prior to this finding. They called the Mobile Veterinary Unit for examination.
General observation and autopsy: This carcass was found near a lugga on right lateral recumbency with rigor mortis setting in.His body condition appeared fare considered to be in a scale of 3.5 out of 5 (where 1 is poor and 5 is good)Both tusks were intact. He appeared to have struggled before death as evidenced by trampling at the scene of death.No visible external injuries were seen even after turning the carcass over. Estimated age of the carcass was 6 hours. There was slight bloating, considered normal as compared to time taken after death. Ear vein prick yielded clotted blood.
On opening the carcass, the following findings were noted; Petechial haemorrhages were evident on the peritoneal linings. Gravity dependent congestion was evident on the right lateral side. He appeared to have recently fed with the entire gastrointestinal tract packed with ingesta. Faecal balls ready for expulsion, though with purulent stuff was found. There was a large abscess partially draining into the gastrointestinal tract at the gastro splenic attachment area. The spleen was partially and unusually firmly attached to the external gastric mucosa. This adhesion was associated with a big abscess which was slowly releasing pus to the gastric lumen and partially peritoneum. Closer examination revealed a partially encapsulated foreign body at this point with severe sepsis. This was a poisoned barbed arrowhead which seemed to have been in place for over a year and completely buried. This caused peritonitis and septicaemia with perforation of the gastrointestinal tract.As result of the injury, the spleen became firmly attached to the stomach wall because of excessive fibrin deposition. This subsequently got infected with resultant complications.Tusks were retrieved and taken for custody by KWS Security Team.
Conclusion: This elephant died from complications associated with the lodged poisoned arrowhead. These include chronic peritonitis, septicaemia and gastrointestinal perforation. He had been suffering for quite some time as the arrowhead was buried beyond view and deep in the abdomen.
CASE#9 POST MORTEM OF AN ELEPHANT BULL
Date: 28th September 2018
Species: African elephant
Age: Adult (Approximately 30 Years)
Location: Mara North Conservancy
History: The carcass of this elephant was seen by Mara North Conservancy and KWS Rangers on their normal patrols. They called the Mobile Veterinary Unit to establish cause of death.
General observation and autopsy: This mature bull estimated to be about 30 years old was found dead with his lower back partly in a shallow lugga. The carcass was found on right lateral recumbency. It was pulled out of the lugga and turned over for further general examination.
The following were noted on general examination: He appeared to have been in good body condition before death with a body score of 4 out of 5 ( where 1 is poor and 5 good) Both tusks were intact. There were signs of slight struggle before death at the scene. The carcass appeared bloated with signs of rectal prolapse.General emphysema was noted with putrefaction starting to occur. No injury was seen with every part of the body examined externally. The age of the carcass was estimated at 3 days. Both tusks were intact and were retrieved and taken into custody by the KWS Security Personnel.
On opening the carcass, the following findings were noted: The heart and the lungs appeared congested. The liver displayed cooked appearance and partly autolysed. The kidneys appeared normal in consistency. The spleen was normal in consistency, size and colouration. The small and part of large intestines appeared severely bloated with more than normal fluid accumulating within peritoneal space. Greater portion of large intestines was empty with hyperaemic and swollen mucosa. Distal part of the mucosa appeared haemorrhagic. An almost completely strangulated and haemorrhagic segment of the large intestines was noted anteriorly. No trace of faecal balls found in the rectum which appeared prolapsed.All other organs appeared normal with expected presentation of post mortem changes.
Conclusion: Of notable importance is the haemorrhagic and strangulated portion of the large intestines and lack of ingested matter beyond the stricture. Lack of faecal matter within the rectum of a healthy and feeding elephant as evidenced by amount of food in the stomach is also an unusual finding. Hyperaemic rectal mucosa and prolapsed rectum was also significant gross finding. There could have been excessive straining before death. The above picture point to a situation where this bull was unable to void excreta, and possible interference with gastrointestinal motility which is fatal if it persists. This situation could have contributed to his death. To rule out other causes of sudden and unexplained deaths, various samples were collected and submitted for further analysis.
Report by KWS Vet Dr Campaign Limo. The Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit would like to thank all stakeholders who helped in reporting and assisting in intervention of the cases that required help. Thanks to KWS Management for the technical advice they provide to the unit. Thanks to Minara Foundation through the DSWT for facilitating the Unit. All your efforts have gone a long way in alleviating sufferings encountered by the wildlife in this ecosystem.