Mara Mobile Veterinary Unit - September 2013

Introduction          The month saw a drop in number of tourists visiting the park and increased precipitation


The month saw a drop in number of tourists visiting the park and increased precipitation. Several wildebeests died due to drowning when crossing Mara River. This was due to fresh flooding as a result of increased rains. The number of cases especially elephants injured during the month went down significantly.

The following are cases handled during the period under review;

Case #1: Repeat treatment of cheetahs against mange at Olare Orok Conservancy.

Date: 9th September2013

Two members of this family, a mother and her male cub had been treated two weeks prior but the female cub was not treated for the purpose of comparison.The mother christened Narasha with the male cub showed great improvement  after treatment.The female cub that was not treated appeared to be slowly getting infested.Repeat treatment for the mother and male cub was instituted in order to clear the mange cycle while first treatment for the female cub was also carried out. All of them were given 12mgs ivomectin through Daninject dart in a 1.5ml dart using   20mm plain needle. The procedure was successful and 30minutes after treatment, the cheetahs went about with their business without any problem. Repeat treatment for female cub will be done again after two weeks. Administration of ivomectin to cheetahs by darting without necessarily immobilizing them could prove to be safe option in future.

Case #2 Treatment of injured female zebra

Date: 19th September 2013


Sex: Female

Age: Adult


This particular female zebra is said to have come to the lodge from unknown location weary and with a foal four days prior to intervention.

She joined other resident members grazing around the lodge and attracted attention of the lodge attendants who offered to assist her by directing her to better grazing areas. She immediately lost her foal to predators. She also got injured on the right thigh by iron sheet as she rubbed herself against to lodge’s fence.

General examination

The zebra appeared weak and emaciated with a discharging wound on her right thigh. She was ambulating well despite the injury.

Immobilization, examination and treatment

Immobilization was achieved by giving it 2mgs of etorphine and 40mgs xylazine in 2ml Daninject dart. The drugs took effect after 8minutes upon where she assumed sternal recumbency.

On examination, she was found to have a septic sharp edged wound measuring approximately seven inches long and two inches deep on her right thigh. The wound appeared recently infected. The zebra appeared old as exhibited by extensive wear and loss of some teeth.

The wound was lavaged with corpious amount of water before being irrigated with lugol’s iodine. Oxytetracycline antibiotic spray was then applied and 3000mgs Amoxycillin antibiotic given intramuscularly.


Achieved by giving 6mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride and 6mgs atipamizole intravenously in one syringe. She got up after five minutes with assistance.



Case#3   Injured elephant at Nkoilale.


KWS security patrol team based at Siana was alerted on this lonely male elephant that appeared lethargic and unable to keep pace with the rest of the herd. It was said that this elephant was in company of others but decided to remain behind close to a pool of water while the rest continued with their journey. The area had enough edible plants for the elephant and sufficient bush to hide. The team informed the veterinary team on the ground who responded immediately.

Physical examination

The elephant was alone near a pool drinking water when we arrived. He appeared unperturbed by our presence. He also appeared to be in good physical body condition except for a small wound on his left flank and another one on his right shoulder.

Immobilization and examination

Immobilization was achieved by use of 15mgs etorphine hydrochloride delivered by Daninject system. The drugs took effect after ten minutes by which time the elephant had moved up to a bushy area. He assumed left lateral recumbency posture.

On examination the wound on the right shoulder was dry with dried pus around its edges. Even with the help of vehicle, the elephant could not be turned over to examine the wound on the left flank. This was partly complicated by the terrain and size of the elephant. The elephant also appeared aged but the body condition was still good.


15000mgs of Amoxycillin antibiotic was administered intramuscularly. In addition 100mgs Dexamethasone was also given as an anti-inflamatory.The visible wound was cleaned and oxytetracycline spray applied.


48mgs diprenorphine hydrochloride was used to revive, administered through ear vein. The elephant was up in two minutes.



Case#4 Post mortem of a female leopard.


This female leopard christened Olive has been a good tourist attraction at Olkiombo. She is reported to be a good mother and has given birth to several cubs. She was expectant when she met her death. She was seen on the morning of 25th Sept 2013 dead near Olkiombo airstrip bleeding from the nostrils and mouth. At the scene were footprints suspected to be for lions and evidence of struggle.

General examination.

The leopard appeared to have been in perfect body condition with all canines intact.

Post mortem

Major findings were deep canine marks penetrating the skull into subdura causing damage to the brain. The bites were inflicted by a large carnivore suspected to be a lion. This caused crushing of the skull with resultant bleeding from the nose and mouth. The leopard died instantly.

All  other areas of the body were intact

Post mortem diagnosis.

The leopard died as a result of injuries inflicted on her skull and by extension brain. This could have been a case of territorial rivalry with lion.


The Mara mobile veterinary unit is grateful to David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (DSWT) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for their support to the unit which has enabled the team to respond to cases of wild animals in distress efficiently and effectively.

Report by: Dr.Campaign K. Limo