Strangulating intestinal obstructions in four captive elephants (Elephas maximus and Loxodonta africana)

Ellen B. Wiedner, James Peddie, Linda Reeve Peddie, Noha Abou-Madi, George V. Kollias, Charles Doyle, William A. Lindsay, Ramiro Isaza, Scott Terrell, Tim M. Lynch, Kari Johnson, Gary Johnson, Charlie Sammut, Barbara Daft, Francisco A Uzal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Three captive-born (5-day-old, 8-day-old, and 4-yr-old) Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and one captive-born 22-yr-old African elephant (Loxodonta africana) from three private elephant facilities and one zoo in the United States presented with depression, anorexia, and tachycardia as well as gastrointestinal signs of disease including abdominal distention, decreased borborygmi, tenesmus, hematochezia, or diarrhea. All elephants showed some evidence of discomfort including agitation, vocalization, or postural changes. One animal had abnormal rectal findings. Nonmotile bowel loops were seen on transabdominal ultrasound in another case. Duration of signs ranged from 6 to 36 hr. All elephants received analgesics and were given oral or rectal fluids. Other treatments included warm-water enemas or walking. One elephant underwent exploratory celiotomy. Three animals died, and the elephant taken to surgery was euthanized prior to anesthetic recovery. At necropsy, all animals had severe, strangulating intestinal lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-130
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • colic
  • Elephant
  • Elephas maximus
  • intestinal strangulation
  • Loxodonta africana
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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