The health of the elephants in our care is always our priority. We monitor them for any changes in their physical state or behaviors and proceed accordingly.
They also get regular “checkups,” which includes doing annual blood work. If we see any reasons for concern or notice any changes in their bloodwork, we increase the frequency of testing to monitor changes. Looking for shifts in bloodwork allows us to adjust their diet, supplements, and treatment regimen as needed.
Last week was Maia’s turn for her annual bloodwork. Elephants have very thick skin over most of their body. The most accessible places to take a blood sample are their ears.
Maia went in the chute easily (as always), but once we scrubbed and alcoholed the vein we chose, she got a little fidgety and seemed nervous. We stopped what we were doing, and did her regular chute routine of a tick check and treats. She settled quickly into that. Once completed, we pulled out elephant kryptonite (nope, not peanuts – Fruit Loops) & approached her ear for a blood draw. She did great. We fed her a steady stream of Fruit Loops once the needle was in (and Fruit Loops make any “annoying” human request worthwhile). We were able to get everything we needed on the first try.
As soon as we finished, we gave her a giant watermelon and opened the chute. In Maia fashion, she tried to shove the entire watermelon in her mouth at once and wandered off to enjoy the rest of the day.
Her blood samples were run in-house and also hand-delivered to a lab for additional information. The lab is located several hours away (in Cuiaba, which is also the nearest airport), so we always coordinate blood draws with trips to the “big” city.
As expected, all of her blood work – both our in-house panels and the ones from the lab – came back completely normal, and she is doing great for her age.
Video is of Maia walking around the pond in Yard 4. (The sound in the background is frogs.)
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Deborah Durham saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 4:10 pm
Great news! I read the text as fast as I could, scanning to see the outcome (as I do with my own blood work tests). So relieved to see all is well at the bottom of the text. Fruit Loops! Who knew? Sanctuary is truly a healthy place to be!
Barb saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 4:21 pm
Excellent news about Maia’s health checkup. Emotionally and physically a rockstar!
Carol saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 4:26 pm
So happy for our Maia! God bless her and you all!!!???
Patricia saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 5:08 pm
Oh, my Fruit Loop Maia. You darlings have bigger than life personalities, a befits gorgeous big girls. And your humans care so much and are SO smart. Just like you girls. Love you all! Elephant hugs!
Sheila saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 5:14 pm
good girl maia‼️?❤️ glad to see she had an excellent morning blood work drawing‼️ yes. scott has mentioned fruitloops….is this the cereal or fruits?? the breakfast cereal produced in canada is multi rainbow colored sugar coated im sure the ladies will like the sweetness too❗️
CyrAnn saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 5:45 pm
Wonderful news dear Maia!!!!!!
Much love to you all………
Kelejan saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 6:23 pm
Once again I love how you tell us what is going on with our beloved elephants. After years of neglect with most of them, they must know they are in Heaven. As ever, thank you for all you do for them.
Julie saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 8:16 pm
So glad to hear about her results. I watched the video before reading and would not have expected to hear anything less having seen how beautifully, strong, and fast she moves. Loved the video! Thank you!
Lane saysFebruary 24, 2020 at 10:44 pm
What a wonderful video. The sound of the frogs was so interesting and thank you for letting us know about them. Never would have guessed that noise was frogs. Such a beautiful location for sanctuary and room to roam. And such solace for those of us watching. Much gratitude to all of you.
Rosie P saysFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:54 am
Wonderful news that Maia’s blood work came back just fine. These girls are so well cared for and with such empathy and compassion. I am so grateful for all your hard work and indepth knowledge. It makes my heart sing to know how well these amazing creatures are treated. Thank you Kat, Scott and all the incredible team…a million times over!
Carey saysFebruary 25, 2020 at 6:02 am
Wonderful news for Maia health- what a trooper she is, and she looked beautiful walking around that lovely full pool!
Muriel Servaege saysFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:11 pm
Nancy Jordan saysFebruary 25, 2020 at 5:38 pm
So happy that Maia is ok and her blood work all came back, normal. What a lovely pond – I bet mz Lady wouldn’t have just walked on by the pond knowing how much she loves that water. What a gorgeous home. Those frogs ! I never heard a frog like it
JoAnn Merriman Eaton saysFebruary 27, 2020 at 3:30 am
Great news! So happy for this sweet girl Maia. ?♥️
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Maia’s Annual Health Checkup