Rana’s Toe Blowout

Last week, we started treating Rana for what we call a “blowout” on one of her toenails, which means that an internal abscess has worked its way out and has broken through the skin above her nail.. She’s had trouble with this toe since before her arrival to sanctuary, along with a couple of others, and this specific issue had caused a deformation of the structure of her toenail. These blowouts are intermittent with her and they’ve been happening approximately once a year since her arrival. There’s not a lot you can do during their dormant stage other than monitor and treat them when they become active. The more she moves around, the better. Movement of the body causes oxygenation and increases blood circulation, which will help her body fight what is going on internally. 

You can often see signs early on, allowing you to try and treat them before it comes through the skin. But there are times when no matter what you do, it goes through the full cycle, which is what is happening now. Likely what will happen is that, with treatment, it will resolve and heal over and go back to looking like a normal nail. It will take some time, but we treat it daily and do intermittent soaks. The full process usually takes a few weeks if it responds favorably to treatment, which it has always done in the past.

Photo of a very clean Rana, whose spots are on display


  1. REPLY
    Marcia says

    Does Rana like her soaks? Meaning, does she seem to have an awareness that what her human friends are doing help her?

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      Yes, she enjoys them. She trusts that we want to help, which is why she is cooperative.

  2. REPLY
    Carol says

    Awwwww. Feel better, gorgeous girl. We are thinking of you. 🙏🏻🫶🏻💐💖

  3. REPLY
    Raven Black says

    Beautiful Rana-bug!
    Hope she feels tip top soon!
    Have to keep those other ladies on their toes!
    Sending lots of love ❤️

  4. REPLY
    Terry says

    I think ” blowouts” are a great way to release the yuck inside! Rana’s body knows how to heal as she is in awesome care with her caregivers on a daily basis, which is the best medicine! Thank you for all you care about and for all you do!

  5. REPLY
    Charlotte Hansen says

    I’m so glad she’s got such devoted and experienced caregivers who know just what to do to help her. Poor Rana!

  6. REPLY
    Carey says

    She must be in a lot of pain. Your update prompted me to research toenail abscesses in elephants. Do the abscess re-form after every blowout? It’s not possible to heal them? At least she is being expertly cared for, and must be in less pain now the poison is out of the abscess cavity? Does this automatically lead to osteomyelitis? Thank you.

    • REPLY
      Sara says

      She’s experiencing some discomfort, we’re sure, but she doesn’t seem to be presenting a lot of serious pain. When the blowout comes to the surface, it exposes the abscess which allows all the bad stuff to come out. There can be layers on layers of these that continue to come to the surface. It just depends on the elephant. It doesn’t automatically lead to osteomyelitis but could be a sign of minor bone infection. It’s something to be on the lookout for, but she seems otherwise quite healthy for her age.

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