Surgical removal of infected phalanges from an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)

Laurie J. Gage, Murray E. Fowler, John Pascoe, David Blasko

12 Scopus citations


A 40-yr-old female Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) developed cellulitis and became lame in her left front leg. A draining tract behind the lateral nail of her left front foot was discovered. This lesion was treated by aggressive irrigation using a variety of disinfectant solutions. Radiographically, there was degeneration and fragmentation of the distal phalanx of the fifth digit and patterns suggestive of osteomyelitis of the second (middle) phalanx. The fragments of the distal phalanx and the affected portion of the second phalanx were removed surgically. Six months after surgery the incision had healed but a fistulous tract remained on the palmar surface of the foot. The tract extended to the second phalanx, and there was radiographic evidence of osteomyelitis in the second phalanx and the distal portion of the proximal phalanx. The remainder of the second phalanx and the distal portion of the proximal phalanx were surgically removed. Aggressive aftercare allowed complete wound closure by second intention.



  • Elephant
  • Elephas maximus
  • Foot
  • Infection
  • Osteomyelitis
  • Phalanx
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

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