Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:


Or use your Academic/Social account:


You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.


Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message


Verify Password:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Publisher: PeerJ Inc.
Journal: PeerJ
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: Proboscidea, Remodelling, Sesamoid, Veterinary Medicine, Enthesopathy, Radiography, Medicine, Radiology and Medical Imaging, Pathology, CT, R, Bone, Osteoarthritis
Foot problems are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in elephants, but are underreported due to difficulties in diagnosis, particularly of conditions affecting the bones and internal structures. Here we evaluate post-mortem computer tomographic (CT) scans of 52 feet from 21 elephants (seven African Loxodonta africana and 14 Asian Elephas maximus), describing both pathology and variant anatomy (including the appearance of phalangeal and sesamoid bones) that could be mistaken for disease. We found all the elephants in our study to have pathology of some type in at least one foot. The most common pathological changes observed were bone remodelling, enthesopathy, osseous cyst-like lesions, and osteoarthritis, with soft tissue mineralisation, osteitis, infectious osteoarthriti, subluxation, fracture and enostoses observed less frequently. Most feet had multiple categories of pathological change (81% with two or more diagnoses, versus 10% with a single diagnosis, and 9% without significant pathology). Much of the pathological change was focused over the middle/lateral digits, which bear most weight and experience high peak pressures during walking. We found remodelling and osteoarthritis to be correlated with increasing age, more enthesopathy in Asian elephants, and more cyst-like lesions in females. We also observed multipartite, missing and misshapen phalanges as common and apparently incidental findings. The proximal (paired) sesamoids can appear fused or absent, and the predigits (radial/tibial sesamoids) can be variably ossified, though are significantly more ossified in Asian elephants. Our study reinforces the need for regular examination and radiography of elephant feet to monitor for pathology and as a tool for improving welfare.
  • The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    • Benjamin M, Rufai A, Ralphs JR. 2000. The mechanism of formation of bony spurs (enthesophytes) in the achilles tendon. Arthritis & Rheumatism 43(3):576 583 DOI 10.1002/1529-0131(200003)43:3<576::AID-ANR14>3.0.CO;2-A.
    • Carciofi AC, Do Prado Saad CE. 2008. Nutrition and nutritional problems in wild animals. In: Fowler ME, Cubas ZS, eds. Biology, medicine, and surgery of South American wild animals. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 425 436.
    • Carlson C, Weisbrode S. 2006. Bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments. In: McGavin MD, Zachary JF, eds. Pathologic basis of veterinary disease. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier, 1041 1106.
    • Choudhury A, Lahiri Choudhury DK, Desai A, Duckworth JW, Easa PS, Johnsingh AJT, Fernando P, Hedges S, Gunawardena M, Kurt F, Karanth U, Lister A, Menon V, Riddle H, Rübel A, Wikramanayake E. 2008. Elephas maximus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T7140A12828813. Available at http:// www. iucnredlist.org/ details/ 7140/ 0.
    • Craig LE, Dittmer KE, Thompson KG. 2016. Bones and joints. In: Grant Maxie M, ed. Jubb, Kennedy & Palmer's pathology of domestic animals: volume 1. 6th edition. St Louis: Elsevier, 16 163.
    • Csuti B, Sargent EL, Bechert US. 2008. The elephant's foot: prevention and care of foot conditions in captive Asian and African elephants. Ames: Iowa State University Press.
    • Dyson SJ. 2003a. Chapter 15 - Radiography and radiology. In: Diagnosis and management of lameness in the horse. Saint Louis: W.B. Saunders, 153 166.
    • Dyson SJ. 2003b. Chapter 71 - The deep digital flexor tendon. In: Diagnosis and management of lameness in the horse. Saint Louis: W.B. Saunders, 644 650.
    • Fowler ME. 2001. An overview of foot conditions in Asian and African elephants. In: Csuti B, Sargent EL, Bechert US, eds. The elephant's foot: prevention and care of foot conditions in captive Asian and African elephants. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1 7.
    • Fowler ME. 2006. Foot disorders. In: Fowler ME, Mikota SK, eds. Biology, medicine, and surgery of elephants. Ames: Blackwell Publishing, 271 290.
    • Gage L. 1999. Radiographic techniques for the elephant foot and carpus. In: Zoo and wild animal medicine, current therapy. St. Louis: WB Saunders Company, 517 520.
    • Galateanu G, Hildebrandt TB, Maillot A, Etienne P, Potier R, Mulot B, Saragusty J, Hermes R. 2013. One small step for rhinos, one giant leap for wildlife management imaging diagnosis of bone pathology in distal limb. PLOS ONE 8:e68493 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0068493.
    • Genin J, Willems P, Cavagna G, Lair R, Heglund N. 2010. Biomechanics of locomotion in Asian elephants. The Journal of Experimental Biology 213:694 706 DOI 10.1242/jeb.035436.
    • Hagihara H, Nakaie K, Kishikawa Y, Tsutsumi Y. 1993. Incidence and size of fabella in osteoarthrosis of the knee. Orthopedics & Traumatology 42(3):995 997 DOI 10.5035/nishiseisai.42.995.
    • Haspeslagh M, Stevens J, De Groot E, Dewulf J, Kalmar I, Moons C. 2013. A survey of foot problems, stereotypic behaviour and floor type in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in European zoos. Animal Welfare 22(4):437 443 DOI 10.7120/09627286.22.4.437.
    • Hautier L, Stansfield FJ, Twink Allen WR, Asher RJ. 2012. Skeletal development in the African elephant and ossification timing in placental mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 279:2188 2195 DOI 10.1098/rspb.2011.2481.
    • Hittmair KM, Vielgrader HD. 2000. Radiographic diagnosis of lameness in African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 41(6):511 515 DOI 10.1111/j.1740-8261.2000.tb01879.x.
    • Hutchinson JR, Delmer C, Miller CE, Hildebrandt T, Pitsillides AA, Boyde A. 2011. From flat foot to fat foot: structure, ontogeny, function, and evolution of elephant ``sixth toes''. Science 334(6063):1699 1703 DOI 10.1126/science.1211437.
    • Hutchinson JR, Miller C, Fritsch G, Hildebrandt T. 2008. The anatomical foundation for multidisciplinary studies of animal limb function: examples from dinosaur and elephant limb imaging studies. In: Endo H, Frey R, eds. Anatomical imaging: towards a new morphology. Tokyo: Springer Japan, 23 38.
    • Kaulfers C, Geburek F, Feige K, Knieriem A. 2010. Radiographic imaging and possible causes of a carpal varus deformity in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 41(4):697 702 DOI 10.1638/2009-0168.1.
    • Kofler J, Geissbühler U, Steiner A. 2014. Diagnostic imaging in bovine orthopedics Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 30:11 53 DOI 10.1016/j.cvfa.2013.11.003.
    • Lewis KD, Shepherdson DJ, Owens TM, Keele M. 2010. A survey of elephant husbandry and foot health in North American zoos. Zoo Biology 29(2):221 236 DOI 10.1002/zoo.20291.
    • Luikart KA, Stover SM. 2005. Chronic sole ulcerations associated with degenerative bone disease in two Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 36:684 688 DOI 10.1638/04088.1.
    • Miller MA, Hogan JN, Meehan CL. 2016. Housing and demographic risk factors impacting foot and musculoskeletal health in African elephant (Loxodonta africana) and Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) in North American zoos. PLOS ONE 11(7):e0155223 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0155223.
    • Morandi F. 2012. The equine navicular bone. In: Thrall DE, ed. Textbook of veterinary diagnostic radiology. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier, 457 473.
    • Muehleman C, Williams J, Bareither ML. 2009. A radiologic and histologic study of the os peroneum: prevalence, morphology, and relationship to degenerative joint disease of the foot and ankle in a cadaveric sample. Clinical Anatomy 22(6):747 754 DOI 10.1002/ca.20830.
    • Mumby C, Bouts T, Sambrook L, Danika S, Rees E, Parry A, Rendle M, Masters N, Weller R. 2013. Validation of a new radiographic protocol for Asian elephant feet and description of their radiographic anatomy. Veterinary Record 173(13):318 318 DOI 10.1136/vr.101696.
    • Nigam J, Singh A. 1980. Radiography of bovine foot disorders. Modern Veterinary Practice 61:621 624.
    • O'Brien EJO, Frank CB, Shrive NG, Hallgrímsson B, Hart DA. 2012. Heterotopic mineralization (ossification or calcification) in tendinopathy or following surgical tendon trauma. International Journal of Experimental Pathology 93(5):319 331 DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2613.2012.00829.x.
    • O'Donnell P. 2009. Cystic lesions of bone. In: Davies AM, Sundaram M, James SJ, eds. Imaging of bone tumors and tumor-like lesions: techniques and applications. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 425 446.
    • Panagiotopoulou O, Pataky TC, Hill Z, Hutchinson JR. 2012. Statistical parametric mapping of the regional distribution and ontogenetic scaling of foot pressures during walking in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). The Journal of Experimental Biology 215:1584 1593 DOI 10.1242/jeb.065862.
    • Pritchett JW. 1984. The incidence of fabellae in osteoarthrosis of the knee. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 66:1379 1380 DOI 10.2106/00004623-198466090-00009.
    • Ramsay EC, Henry RW. 2001. Anatomy of the elephant foot. In: Csuti B, Sargent EL, Bechert US, eds. The elephant's foot. Ames: Iowa State University Press, 9 12.
    • Regnault S, Hermes R, Hildebrandt T, Hutchinson J, Weller R. 2013. Osteopathology in the feet of rhinoceroses: lesion type and distribution. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 44(4):918 927 DOI 10.1638/2012-0277R1.1.
    • Roth VL. 1984. How elephants grow: heterochrony and the calibration of developmental stages in some living and fossil species. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 4(1):126 145 DOI 10.1080/02724634.1984.10011993.
    • Ruhoy MK, Schweitzer ME, Resnick D. 1998. Spondyloarthropathies. In: Klippel JH, Dieppe PA, eds. Rheumatology. London: Mosby, 13.1 13.6.
    • Sarin VK, Erickson GM, Giori NJ, Bergman AG, Carter DR. 1999. Coincident development of sesamoid bones and clues to their evolution. The Anatomical Record 257(5):174 180 DOI 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0185(19991015)257:5<174::AID-AR6>3.0.CO;2-O.
    • Shaibani A, Workman R, Rothschild BM. 1993. The significance of enthesopathy as a skeletal phenomenon. Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 11:399 403.
    • Siegal-Willott J, Isaza R, Johnson R, Blaik M. 2008. Distal limb radiography, ossification, and growth plate closure in the juvenile Asian elephant (Elephas maximus). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 39:320 334 DOI 10.1638/2007-0031.1.
    • Siegal-Willott JL, Alexander A, Isaza R. 2012. Chapter 67 - Digital Radiography of the Elephant Foot A2. In: Eric Miller R, Fowler M, eds. Fowler's zoo and wild animal medicine. Saint Louis: W.B. Saunders, 515 523.
    • Steel J. 1885. A manual of the diseases of the elephant. Madras: Lawrence Asylum Press.
    • Stilson KT, Hopkins SSB, Davis EB. 2016. Osteopathology in rhinocerotidae from 50 million years to the present. PLOS ONE 11:e0146221 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0146221.
    • Weissengruber GE, Egger GF, Hutchinson JR, Groenewald HB, Elsässer L, Famini D, Forstenpointner G. 2006. The structure of the cushions in the feet of African elephants (Loxodonta africana). Journal of Anatomy 209(6):781 792 DOI 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2006.00648.x.
  • Inferred research data

    The results below are discovered through our pilot algorithms. Let us know how we are doing!

    Title Trust
  • No similar publications.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article