Animals at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo are well taken after, as the zookeepers’ job is to make sure they are happy and healthy. They did the same with their Asian arthritic elephant, which has been suffering from the disease for more than ten years.
The arthritic elephant is forty-one years old. She’s a female and goes by the name of Shanthi. The disease determined the animal to change its weight center from one foot to another. This prevented the equal distribution of the body weight, and, as a result, the tissues of the animals legs have been damaged.
Veterinarians came up with an unusual treatment for the arthritic elephant. They thought about specially designed shoes for her damaged feet. The footwear, size-20, was developed by Teva, and the company did the job for free. The shoes cover Shanthi’s front feet, without preventing her from moving as she pleases. Veterinarians applied medication on the elephant’s wounds, and now the specially designed boots protect the damaged soles of the animal.
Specialists thought that this pair of footwear would help the arthritic elephant with its healing process. Without it, the wounds might get infected due to dust and dirt.
Shanthi’s recovery treatment started months ago. Zookeepers have been administrating her special baths, as well as pedicure. Her nails were also affected, as the animal had the tendency of leaning forward because of the arthritic pain.
In addition to the specially designed shoes and treatment, veterinaries also tried a procedure which is used with arthritic horses, and it is also highly effective. What they did was to take blood samples from Shanthi’s swollen joints and modify it in the lab. They introduced a substance that will help the animal get rid of its joint inflammation. When the formula was done, they injected it back to Shanthi.
Zookeepers witnessed Shanthi’s process of getting used to her medical shoes. It took her a while, but she was very obedient and got used to wearing them, and now she can walk properly.
Both veterinarians and zookeepers are happy that their efforts have not gone to waste. Shanthi’s arthritis has been considerably receding, especially on the left front leg. The disease has been preventing the animal from lying down for months. Now she can do this and rest.
People who visit the Smithsonian’s National Zoo can see Shanthi wearing her medical shoes.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia