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J Zoo Wildl Med. 2018 Mar;49(1):183-188. doi: 10.1638/2017-0065R.1.

USE OF GLUE-ON SHOES TO IMPROVE CONFORMATIONAL ABNORMALITIES IN TWO ASIAN ELEPHANTS ( ELEPHAS MAXIMUS).

Abstract

This report describes the use of custom-made, glue-on shoes for the front feet of two female adult Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus) with conformational abnormalities. Both elephants had unequal leg lengths. The first elephant also had bilateral fetlock varus causing recurrent nail infections of the fourth digits of the front feet. The second elephant displayed weight shifting. Over several years, multiple shoe prototypes were tested. The current version is made of two types of shoe rubber, glued together and attached to the pad of the shorter leg with a liquid adhesive. The first elephant also has bilateral wedge pads to offload pressure from the fourth nails. The shoes are removed each month for foot care, then replaced. Within several months of wearing shoes, the first elephant's nail infections healed and the second elephant stopped weight shifting. Both elephants' gaits became smoother. This is the first description of corrective shoeing in elephants.

KEYWORDS:

Asian elephant; Elephas maximus; conformation; corrective shoeing; foot health; gait

PMID:
29517450
DOI:
10.1638/2017-0065R.1

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