Treatment of Pressure Ulcers and Bedsores in Elephants

History and Symptoms
Name: Kaew Ta
Age: 67 years old
Prolonged lying due to weak health
Rescued from: Krabi
Previously working: Logging/Riding
Bedsores in elephants are typically found when an elephant has been lying on the floor for a prolonged period. This is a by-product of not being able to stand or support themselves.
The appearance of a bedsore is frequently found in older elephants, in elephants who have higher body weight, who have lied down for too long and have trouble getting up after lying down, elephants sleeping in poor conditions e.g. in urine and faecal matter.
In this situation, the wound is found on the hip bone of the elephant.
In the event of a severe wound, swelling and inflammation would be present. Treatment would include washing the wound, reducing pain and reducing the inflammation to the area.
In cases of severe wound infection, chronic open wounds and necrosis (the death of most or all of the cells in an organ or tissue due to disease, injury, or failure of the blood supply) or pus within the wound, the medical team will have to wash the wound with an antiseptic solution and apply antibiotics (topical). Trimming to remove the rotten or dead flesh from the wound completely is also practised to facilitate healing. This is done together with the use of antibiotics (antibiotic) and anti-inflammatory drugs (anti-inflammatory) by consumption or injection.
Most pressure ulcers in elephants 2 – 6 months to heal depending on factors that affect other wound healing process such as age, elephant’s overall health, elephant behaviour, raising and other environmental factors.
In the case of successful treatment, the medical team, including the Mahout should be cleaning the wound often. The responsibility of the Mahout is extremely important in this instance because it ensures that the wound stays clean. The mahout is also responsible for maintaining and controlled and clean state for the elephant. This means, no sand, no soil, no mud on the infected area.
At present, Kaew Ta is receiving continuous care by our team of veterinarians and staff. She is expected to make a full recovery between 4 – 5 months.
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