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June, an elephant with arthritis, receives Cosequin supplements to improve their mobility

15 Nov 2012
Companion Animal Health

June is a geriatric, female Asian elephant who was rescued by the Elephant refuge and education centre at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand in June 2010 from Surin province in northern Thailand. June is over 70 years old and was rescued in an emaciated body condition with extensive, infected wounds over the right side of her body.

june_elefante
June suffers from debilitating arthritis and is unable to rise unassisted if she lies down to rest. As happens with so many working elephants in Thailand, June was neglected after she outlived her usefulness for the tourist trade. 

Her wounds were caused by pressure sores after being trapped on her side, unable to rise. With intensive treatment and rehabilitation, June’s wounds have healed, she has put on weight and enjoys an easy retirement alongside her similarly geriatric friend, Bua Ngun.

Even now, June will remain standing for weeks to months on end for fear of lying down and being trapped on her side again. She will wait until she is so exhausted she can simply stand no longer. After learning of June’s condition Cosequin kindly donated a shipment of their equine glucosamine/chondroitin supplement for a trial period to see if it could help June’s mobility.

After around 8 weeks of receiving the supplement we could see a significant improvement in June’s gait and willingness to exercise. Before receiving the supplement June was lifted in a hoist and crane with some difficulty every 4-8 weeks and since receiving it we have only had to lift her once in 6 months. We also found June able to partially lift herself this time and she recovered more quickly than usual, striding away normally for breakfast immediately after the event. June is a tall, slender elephant weighing around 2,200kg. She received 8 scoops twice daily for 8 weeks until improvement was observed, this was tapered to 6 scoops twice a day for maintenance which we hope to continue long term.