Chronic sole ulcerations associated with degenerative bone disease in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus)

Kimberly A. Luikart, Susan M Stover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Chronic foot lesions and degenerative joint disease are common causes of morbidity in elephants. Lesions may become intractable and progressive despite intensive treatment regimens. The forelimbs of two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) with chronic nonhealing sole ulcerations were examined using manual dissection and computed tomography. Both elephants had abnormal limb conformation that preceded the development of sole ulcerations. In both cases, sole ulcers were associated with remodeling and degeneration of underlying bones of the digits. Conformational abnormalities and altered weight distribution in these individuals may have induced compensatory bony degeneration and secondary ulcer formation. Sole ulcerations associated with digital abnormalities may have a guarded prognosis for resolution, even with aggressive treatment. Because limb conformational abnormalities could predispose to or result from chronic digital lesions, elephants with conformational abnormalities may have increased likelihood of having chronic sole ulcerations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-688
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Computed tomography
  • Elephant
  • Elephas maximus
  • Pododermatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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