Friday, April 1, 2011
stitching up a sable bull
This magnificent sable bull had a large wound just behind his left horn, likely caused by fighting with another bull. It was deep, dirty and full with maggots. I had to dart this animal to treat it as soon as possible! On horseback we could approach him at 30 meter distance and I was able to get a nice shot. He took off! With our horses we followed him through the bush, as it is important to get to a darted animal as quick as you can. It's not good to have a wild animal sleeping without supervision. A darted animal can fall wrong, regurgitate food from his stomach (what can be fatal) or have other complications. As a wildlife vet you want to be with the darted animal when it is sleepy but still standing, so that you are there immediately when it goes down. Of course this is not always possible in the bush, but we always try to find the animal as soon as we can. Therefore I never dart a wild animal without 2 horses and enough people to help looking for the animal. The good thing about darting sable antelopes is that they always make a weired crying sound when they are under anesthetics, which helps tremendously to find them in thick bush. This bull was luckily easy to find and he fell asleep under a tree, nice in the shade. The wound looked awful, but after cleaning it thoroughly, getting all the maggots out, refreshing the wound and stitching it up, it looked much better. Just before closing the wound, I filled the wound up with Acrisulph (the orange stuff on the pic), a miracle wound healing cream and antibiotics. I also put blue spray on the wound to keep flies away and gave an anti-parasite treatment, a painkiller and antibiotics by injection. I left a hole at the lowest point of the wound as a drainage to make sure that all dirt can get out, otherwise an abces can devellop. Then I woke him up and he wandered off as if nothing happened. Within a few days, the wound was almost invisible. The healing capacity of wild animals is such a pleasure for vets. In memory of our wonderful colleague and friend Elmon Zitha. Thanks for the laughs, hard work and good times! We are missing you. May your spirit rest in peace.