Moving in the Right Direction


We recently mentioned that it looks as if Lady’s front left foot was beginning to experience a blowout – which is when an internal abscess comes through the surface of the skin.

Once we saw the symptoms begin, we changed her treatment regimen to focus on this issue instead of her general foot issues. It seems to be working – the area looks to be drying out, and it isn’t apparent that it’s causing her significant pain. She is continuing to move around quickly and comfortably and not favoring that foot in any way. We wouldn’t consider it remotely healed, but we are pleased about what it is doing at this point. We see good signs that things are moving in the right direction.

Blowouts will likely be a cyclical issue for her, but we are tracking what works this time, with the hope these methods may also work in the future.

Photo of a very wet Lady.

June 3, 2020


  1. REPLY
    Barb says

    My ignorance here but is this a systemic infection that cannot be treated successfully with antibiotics? Eventually/periodically then it “drains”?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Hi Barb, no, unfortunately foot infections don’t respond well to oral or injectable antibiotics. Many single antibiotics and different combinations have been tried, often with only negative results because they are very hard on an elephant’s GI system. The abscesses also aren’t filled with fluid, it is a different type of tissue, so they don’t actively drain, although there are always exceptions. Pelusa’s feet did drain at one point, when the swollen cavity was cut into (by the zoo, she was not at the sanctuary.) The rupture does allow the medication to be delivered more directly and does seem to relieve some degree of pressure.

      • Barb says

        Thank you Kat for your thorough explanation of the circumstances of foot abscesses. It is heartbreaking to think of Lady having to experience such an ordeal but thank goodness she has you and Scott to love and and care for her. The environment/surfaces at ESB must help ease some of her discomfort.

  2. REPLY
    Alana says

    Most Excellent news!

  3. REPLY
    Linda Lalonde says

    She has such a gorgeous eye.

  4. REPLY
    Bertica Valdes Suarez says

    Thank you for the care and the documentation you keep on her foot health. Thank you!

  5. REPLY
    Gramma Tammy says

    Great news! I bet having her at the sanctuary helps heal her in so many ways too emotionally and physically. We know being under constant stress isn’t good at all for the health of animals or humans so it’s a win win, yippee!

  6. REPLY
    Rachel says

    Sooo happy to hear! ?❤️

  7. REPLY
    Sheila says

    Oh sweet lil❤️?❤️ lady! Has such horrific feet I pray all the poison comes out of her feet and the healing takes over very well! Thank u for caring for her feet! Feeding her supplements etc I pray she gets antibiotics to heal this infection as im sure she never ever had any all these years her feet were horrifically deteriorating in the zoo or circus‼️

  8. REPLY
    Sherry says

    Lady’s foot is healing, YAY!!!!! Thank you sanctuary for doing such an excellent job!!!!??❤️

  9. REPLY
    Gillian Gandy says

    Thank you for all the special care you give to Lady she is so beautiful

  10. REPLY
    Dorcey Berndt says

    That is really good news. I can’t bear the thought of her being in pain because of the neglect she suffered over the years. I’m so glad she’s with your program where she gets the love and care she deserves.

  11. REPLY
    Wim Diepeveen says

    Hope your footwork keeps improving Lady. Little steps or big steps you’re so resilient.
    With the luxury of your own flying doctors team around you day and night. ???

  12. REPLY
    Anella Stewart says

    I’m so happy & relieved that Lady & her beautiful friends are now living the life they deserve with the loving Angels at GSE. I’ve often wondered how elephants such as our lovely Ladies can continue to bathe/swim in the pond, wallow in the mud and walk around on all manner of dirt/bacteria/parasites and not get infections. Along with Lady’s foot problem, I’m also thinking of Rana Bug who has the ongoing vulva problem. I understand and appreciate the absolute joy they get out of doing these activities, but do these activities pose an increased risk to them?

    • REPLY
      Kat Blais says

      Not particularly. Rana’s vulva is normal 90% of the time. We check on it to make sure, since we have to treat her eye anyway. If it is ‘off’, it’s just generally inflamed and easy to wash and rinse with something to help with the pH. Lady loves the wallows and shallow water more than the pond at this point. We did out the wallows and replace the dirt regularly to keep them clean. The one closer to the barn is piped to the barn water supply, so fresh water is emptied into it every day. The one at the other end of the property has the hose put it in on a regular basis as well. Lady’s feet are also cleaned, when she is having issues, twice daily- her morning foot soak and her afternoon treatments. Even if it did post a minimal risk, we would never take that away from them. They have been deprived of so much throughout their entire lives, that is a joy we would not be willing to take away. Thankfully, it’s not an issue.

  13. REPLY
    Patricia says

    Lady, you are such a cute girl! I’m sure glad Scott and Kat are on top of your foot care. It’s heartwrenching to hear about what Pelusa went through–some of us still mourn her loss. We are so blessed to have you three darlings in the care of ESB. As always, I send tons of elephant hugs and smoochies!!!

  14. REPLY
    Rosie P says

    This is so good to know! I understand that Lady’s feet will never recover but improvements can be made and flare ups eased. No doubt the foot soaks and daily treatments are helping her a great deal and the ground/habitat at ESB has to be of great benefit. She has come a long way in her short time at ESB thanks to the wonderful care she receives.
    It does appear that her pain has eased with these improvements in her feet as her walking has certainly improved in the recent video. I wonder if her pain had made Lady feel more vulnerable and therefore not wanting to socialise with the others. Recently, she has shown more interest in the other girls.

  15. REPLY
    Paula says

    Dulce y bella Lady?
    Son buenas noticias!
    Curate pronto hermosa dama, fuerza de elefante! Eres grandiosa!!!??
    Todos nosotros te pensamos y deseamos lo mejor para ti?
    Muchas gracias Kat y equipo por hacer todo lo posible para curarla?
    Seguramente Lady lo sabe y se los agradece?

  16. REPLY
    Carey says

    Good to know

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