This morning they started the day with an herbal foot soak for Lady. She was very good- nice and relaxed. She also decided that she wanted her whole body to smell lovely and gave herself a little bath.
Foot soaks are not something she is trained for, this just happens to be somewhere she normally stands, and we are taking advantage of an already existing behavior and her food motivation. Although the herbs have antibiotic and antifungal properties, the goal of the soaks is to reduce inflammation. We are looking for ways to bring her additional comfort during her trip without compromising her body.
A big question yesterday was ‘can you start foot treatment and can she get antibiotics’. Unfortunately, antibiotics don’t do much for severe foot infections. Throughout history, numerous antibiotics, delivered through different routes have been tried without success. Often they cause significant GI issues leading to other problems. In regards to trimming or treating her feet, Lady isn’t trained for foot care nor is there a safe place to carry out foot care at the zoo.
When she arrives at the sanctuary she will have to be trained to present her feet, allow touching, then allow trimming and filing in order for us to do what we need. It isn’t an instant process, it will take time. Her only training was at the circus through dominance, so she will need to understand how positive reinforcement training works first- which is often difficult for dominated elephants. But with her food motivation and the new foot jacuzzi we built, we should at least be able to start with medicated soaks and sprays to begin the healing.
- For more information on Lady, you can go to her page →
- For more information on Lady’s history, you can go here →
- To understand more about the importance of foot care and the deadly toll it takes on captive elephants, you can go here →
November 23, 2019