Improvements in husbandry, veterinary care, and nutrition have led to increased longevity of animals in human care, including elephants. The goal of this study was to collect and synthesize information pertaining to geriatric elephant medicine, management, husbandry, and nutrition. An electronic survey was created and distributed to American Association of Zoo Veterinarians members through an online link. A total of 61 responses were received from veterinarians, nutritionists, and elephant managers with data encompassing 314 elephants, of which 142 were geriatric (over 40 years old) and 51 were on their final set of molars. Following the initial survey, willing respondents were contacted for follow-up interviews. Osteoarthritis, foot disease, and colic were the most commonly reported diseases, and flunixin meglumine and phenylbutazone were the analgesics most often used. Respondents described diseases treated, husbandry changes specific for older animals, welfare assessments and quality of life monitoring, nutritional modifications for dental attrition, a variety of integrative medicine modalities, and unique cases. It is the hope that the information identified in this study can be used to improve treatment, management practices, and overall welfare for geriatric elephants.
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