Living With Elephants Foundation reports that Jabu's wrist injury and associated osteo-arthritis continues to be a struggle for him. His stance is becoming quite narrow and the fore legs scuff one another as he tries to adjust to the arthritic condition. As he rubs his legs together, this causes small abrasions on his skin. Skin infections are not something we want Jabu to form. Jabu's local vet, Dr. Rob Jackson, together with support counsel from Saving The Survivors and other elephant vets worldwide have been coming up with a plan. The next step is getting urgent x-rays. With one machine for all of Southern Africa, you can imagine the line up. We are awaiting news as to when this can be scheduled for June. In the meantime, we are fundraising and seeking sponsorship for a machine for Botswana.
Presently Doug and Sandi are moving ahead trying Jabu with a drug called called Pentosan Polysulfate. It is a disease modifying agent for osteo-arthritis in dogs, cats and horses. It stimulates joint cartilage synthesis and prevents further breakdown. It has shown success in numerous research studies. Thanks to generous donations totalling $13,919 on the #StandWithJabu Gofundme from December to May 2018, we were able to purchase intial Pentosan treatments. Thank you friends of Jabu!
Jabu had his first intramuscular injection of Pentosan two weeks ago. Doug and Sandi were hesitant to trial this drug, but at the same time, fully aware that these types of drugs can have tremendous benefit. Remember, Jabu is only 31 years old and in the prime of his life. If we can give his joints the support they need to withstand the arthritic conditions of that wrist injury - we are in a good place. So they started the regime. Jabu gets the injection in the hamstring muscle. He stands very quietly while Doug gives this painless shot. Sandi stays at his head, feeding him his favourite oranges and talking to him. He is used to general health vaccines, so doesn't seem to phased by interventions. Wish my cat was this easy in the vet clinic!!
Unfortunately, Jabu's first injection didn't go very well. Jabu seemed to lose his stability and appetite for a few hours afterwards. The Groves have since learned that there may have been a contradiction with a NSAID he had that day. Dr. Jackson will come out Monday to try again, and to keep close watch for adverse reactions. Jabu will also be given a cortisone shot before hand to help sooth his system. Let's hope this helps! Doug and Sandi are extremely cautious about all treatments because they know Jabu has a sensitive system and 'less is more' with this big guy. Imagine. We all think of our megafauna as been huge, resilient and strong. But a small wrist injury can literally bring this 6 ton bull to his knees. Keep positive healing thoughts for Jabu!
We will forge ahead with fundraising and planning for the next steps in his treatment including 1. glue-on-orthotics, 2. other preventative arthritis drugs (possibly Legend), 3. stem cell therapy from Colorado State University, 4. physiotherapy exercises including swimming in a soon-to-be-therapy pool when the flood comes in and lastly 5. diet analysis.
Please support Jabu by donating here. We have U.S. charitable status and your donations are tax deductible. Thank you for your BIG support!
Author: Kelsey Envik Photo/Video: Sandi Groves Guardians: Doug Groves and Sandi Groves