Ulcerative pododermatitis in free-ranging African elephant (Loxodonta africana) in the Kruger National Park

12 Dec 2012

The occurrence of severe lameness in adult African elephant bulls in a shrub Mopane (Colophospermum mopane) ecosystem was investigated. Large ulcers in the soles of at least one front foot were seen in each of the recorded cases. Microscopically, the lesion can be described as a severe, chronic-active, ulcerative, bacterial pododermatitis (complicated by hypersensitivity/septic vasculitis). A variety of bacteria were isolated from these lesions as well as from regional lymph nodes. Streptococcus agalactiae was the most consistent isolate, while Dichelobacter nodosus, the only organism known to be involved with foot disease in domestic ruminants, was isolated from two cases. Contributory factors such as body mass, portal of entry and origin of potential pathogens may have predisposed to the development of the lesions.