DISEASE SUMMARY PAGE

Overworn Sole in Elephants

Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption Click here for full page view with caption

Summary Information
Diseases / List of Physical / Traumatic Diseases / Disease summary
Alternative Names
  • Tender feet
  • Thullee

See also:

Disease Agents
  • Predisposing factors that may lead to foot diseases in captive elephants include lack of exercise, lack of regular foot care and inspection, nail and sole overgrowth and lack of trimming, inappropriate enclosure surfaces (hard unyielding substrates substrates contribute to the development of foot problems, for example by trauma and by lack of opportunity for digging), constant direct contact with dirty and wet surfaces in which pathogens can proliferate, mal nutrition, excess feeding/insufficient exercise leading to overweight elephants which put more stress on their feet, arthritis and inherited poor foot structure. (B22.34.w12, B454.1.w1, B454.16.w16)
  • Excessive wear and abrasion. (B22.34.w12, B64.27.w4, B336.53.w53)
  • Excessive walking on hard ground, particularly after softening of the sole by standing in dirty areas or by walking in wet areas. (B212.w27)
  • Excessive trimming. (B454.5.w5)

Further information on Disease Agents has only been incorporated for agents recorded in species for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken). Only those agents with further information available are linked below:

Infectious Agent(s) --
Non-infectious Agent(s) --
Physical Agent(s)
General Description

Clinical signs:

  • Short stepping and/or lameness. (B10.49.w21, B22.34.w12, B64.27.w4, B212.w27)
  • Reluctance to move. (B10.49.w21, B22.34.w12, B64.27.w4)
  • Discomfort and flinching on palpation of the affected area. (B10.49.w21, B22.34.w12, B64.27.w4, B212.w27)
Further Information Diagnosis:
  • Clinical signs.
  • Smooth areas on the soles, with a yellowish or pinkish colouration. (B212.w27)

Susceptibility/Transmission

  • Elephants that constantly stand in moist environments can overwear their sole if then made to walk on an abrasive surface. (B64.27.w4, B10.49.w21)
  • Rough substrates may cause excessive sole wear. (B336.53.w53)
  • Stereotypic behaviour involving pacing may lead to excessive wear of the sole. (B10.49.w21, B22.34.w12)

Treatment:

  • Rest. (B10.49.w21, B64.27.w4, B212.w27, B212.w27)
    • The elephant must be kept on a substrate which will not further abrade the foot. (B212.w27)
  • Keep feet dry. (B10.49.w21, B64.27.w4, B212.w27)
  • Stop the elephant from carrying out repetitive pacing. (B10.49.w21)
    • Reducing wear due to stereotypic behaviour may involve redirecting the elephant's activities, but application of a protective covering (e.g. duct tape or even a "sandal", and a change in floor surface, may also be required. (B22.34.w12)

Prevention:

  • Regular inspection of the feet and resting if a tender area is found. (B212.w27)
  • Appropriate regular hoof trimming. (B214.3.7.w3)
    • Note: the amount of trimming required varies depending on the substrate, the amount of exercise, and the individual elephant. (B10.49.w21)
    • Regular foot inspection and care is easier if the elephant is trained to present the foot (e.g. place it on a block) to allow this. (B336.53.w53, J4.171.w5)
  • Provision of appropriate substrates. (B214.3.7.w3, B336.53.w53)
    • The substrate should not be too rough. (B336.53.w53)
    • A lightly brushed concrete floor is recommended, as it provides an adequate surface. Deep brushed concrete should be avoided since this tends to accumulate faeces and urine, on which bacteria can grow. (J4.171.w5)
  • Regular exercise, preferably on natural substrates. (B454.5.w5)
  • Adequate hygiene: elephants should not have to stand for long periods in moist, dirty conditions. (B10.49.w21, B454.5.w5)
  • Adequate nutrition is recommended to maintain foot health. Biotin, protein and trace elements, such as zinc, selenium and arsenic are some of the nutrients to consider. (B454.3.w3)
  • Correction of certain repetitive abnormal behaviours leading to excess wear. (B454.5.w5)
    • Reducing wear due to stereotypic behaviour may involve redirecting the elephant's activities, but application of a protective covering (e.g. duct tape or even a "sandal", and a change in floor surface, may also be required. (B22.34.w12)
Associated Techniques
Host taxa groups /species Further information on Host species has only been incorporated for species groups for which a full Wildpro "Health and Management" module has been completed (i.e. for which a comprehensive literature review has been undertaken).

(List does not contain all other species groups affected by this disease)

Return to top of page