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1 December 2017 VITAL SIGNS AND FIRST OCCURRENCES IN NORMAL AND ABNORMAL NEWBORN ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) CALVES
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Abstract

Sixteen years of medical records documenting 19 births within a herd of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at a private facility in the southeastern United States were reviewed. Of the 19 calves, 11 were normal at birth, requiring no additional veterinary care, and eight were abnormal, requiring veterinary care immediately or within the first week of birth. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate morphometrics, vital signs, and behavioral milestones in newborn calves both normal and abnormal. Blood work and urinalysis results from all calves were compared to values for adult elephants. Medical management of abnormal calves is described. All calves had faster heart rates and respiratory rates than did adult elephants, but rectal temperatures were the same. Calves were precocious with regard to sitting and standing but could be very slow to nurse. The most-common medical conditions of newborn calves were umbilical abnormalities and problems associated with nursing. Two calves required cardiopulmonary resuscitation after birth but made full recoveries. Some conditions were not apparent at birth but were recognized a few hours or days later. Following veterinary intervention, six of the eight calves made full recoveries, suggesting that early identification and treatment of problems can greatly decrease mortality. This is the first report of multiple veterinary and behavioral parameters in normal and abnormal neonatal Asian elephants from a facility with a calf survival rate above 90%. This information may be helpful to other elephant-holding facilities in providing care to their newborn elephant calves.

Copyright 2017 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians
Ellen Wiedner, Wendy K. Kiso, Janice Aria, Ramiro Isaza, William Lindsay, Gary Jacobson, Kathy Jacobson, and Dennis Schmitt "VITAL SIGNS AND FIRST OCCURRENCES IN NORMAL AND ABNORMAL NEWBORN ASIAN ELEPHANT (ELEPHAS MAXIMUS) CALVES," Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 48(4), 997-1015, (1 December 2017). https://doi.org/10.1638/2017-0036.1
Accepted: 1 July 2017; Published: 1 December 2017
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