Chemical immobilization of wildlife is one of our main service areas. Specifically selected animals are darted with immobilising drugs so that they may be handled, microchipped, treated and loaded for transport. This type of capture is usually reserved for expensive breeding stock and/or sick animals.
Since capture and relocation are very stressful for a wild animal, we routinely treat immobilised animals with broad spectrum antibiotics, multivitamins, deworming agents, treatment against ticks and flies etc. (as may be indicated under specific circumstances or dictated by import requirements). As a standard protocol, we administer a long-acting tranquilizers. All this helps to give these animals the best possible chance of adapting and thriving in their new environment.
Depending on the species and even the individual animal, this regimen can be altered to include certain vaccines and other treatments. It is also during immobilisation that we place any requested ear tags and/or microchips.
Treating the sick and injured
We also immobilize injured or sick wild animals for examination and treatment. This work is usually limited to an individual animal or a number of affected animals in a herd. The animal is darted from the helicopter or from the ground, depending on accessibility. Once the animal is down, it can be examined, diagnostic samples collected and treatment given as deemed applicable for the specific case(s).
Besides a clinical examination, we are able to, on site, make and examine blood smears, cytologic as well as stool samples under a microscope to enhance our on-farm diagnostic capabilities. We can further perform ultrasound examinations (depending on the case, for pregnancy diagnosis and certification as well as disease investigation) and will take additional samples for advanced laboratory analyses if indicated. We always carry a grinder with special hoof cutting disk to treat long hooves.
We are equipped to do minor (abscess lancing, wound suturing etc.) to fairly major surgical procedures (caeserian sections, minor orthopaedic conditions etc.) in the field. Where needed, advanced surgery can be performed in Windhoek. We will discuss different treatment options with the client and follow up on any sample sent for analysis.
Since we have clients throughout Namibia, we are able to gather information on disease incidents from all over the country. This gives us a good insight and knowledge on possible health threats on your farm. Our clients are always welcome to discuss their concerns with us and we will provide early warning should we feel that farmers in an area are at risk of a current health threat,
Responsible game management should include disease prevention strategies which includes vaccination of susceptible species. The current fastest, least stressful and most efficient vaccination strategy is to dart vaccinate from a helicopter. The helicopter reduces the time needed for vaccination (especially of bigger game populations on bigger farms/camps) and also provides the animals with less stress compared to dart vaccination from the ground. Depending on terrain and bush density we will be able to dart in excess of 300 animals on a 10.000 ha farm within 3-5 hours flying time. Animals also may be vaccinated if they are immobilized. Two of the most important diseases to vaccinate against in Namibia are rabies and anthrax whilst some Clostridial infections pose a serious risk on some farms and under certain management conditions.
Rabies is a fatal viral disease which affects all mammals, but especially the highly social animals such as Kudu and Eland. In recent years, rabies spread to most parts of Namibia, resulting in devastating losses to both Kudu and Eland populations on many farms. We thus highly recommend vaccination of these two species. Over the years, we have been doing this on a number of farms and can provide references that will attest to the positive effect on these vaccinated populations! We recommend vaccinating at least once in the first year, then again the following year. After that, vaccinations can be performed either annually or every other year, depending on the local situation. Read more about rabies under 'Documentation'.
Anthrax is endemic to Namibia and is caused by very hardy bacteria that live and can survive in the soil for decades . Mammals, such as Rhino, Roan, Kudu, Sable etc. are susceptible. Disease outbreaks are usually dramatic with multiple mortalities (also in various species on the same property) dying literally “overnight” without showing prior symptoms of disease. Animals should be vaccinated annually and ideally, the initial vaccine should be followed by a booster vaccine after one to two months.
Talk to us about vaccination concerns and strategies on your farm!
We have experienced an increasing demand in the certification of pregnancy in wild animals. As a result we make use of a high quality portable ultrasound machine to examine any animal for pregnancy, and we are able to estimate how the pregnancy is. Where requested, we will supply a signed certificate to attest the animals’ pregnancy status.
We also use our ultrasound machine as part of a comprehensive clinical examination in sick or injured animals, to examine various organ systems, including tendons and muscles.
If a wild animal is found dead, it is a good idea to perform a thorough examination of the carcass (PM examination). The cause of death could be contagious posing a possible threat to other animals or even man. Wherever an insured animal dies, a post mortem examination performed by a veterinarian becomes a prerequisite before an insurance company will be willing to settle such a claim!
A thorough post mortem examination involves the careful examination of the dead animal where it was found up to a careful visual inspection of the skin and all the internal organs. Depending on the case at hand multiple samples will be collected for further laboratory analysis. We provide a post mortem report based on our findings and will guide our clients with advise on how to best deal with the situation.
Due to our vast country and logistic problems it is not always realistically/financially feasible to have a veterinarian perform all post mortem examinations. To alleviate this situation but still assist our clients to obtain the maximum information possible from any animal that died on his/her property we can offer basic courses on when and how to perform a post mortem examination, including sample taking. We tell you which things to look out for and why we ask the questions we do. We will show you how to take and properly handle samples and how to report the incident to us. In this way, the animal can be examined immediately rather than having to wait for a veterinarian to be available to come out. You will be able to help us help you. Once the samples have been analysed, we will naturally contact you and discuss further action. Watch this space for more information about possible courses.