Hydrotherapy to soothe elephants’ feet and joints

Captive elephants are made to navigate environments that their bodies were not built for. “Standing on concrete for long periods becomes an invitation to the early onset of arthritis. Also, due to lack of proper foot care, the toenails and cuticles of the elephants overgrow and become more prone to cracking,” said Dr. Yaduraj Khadpekar, senior veterinary officer at the Wildlife SOS Elephant Conservation and Care Centre (ECCC), situated on the banks of the Yamuna in Mathura.

“As such, standing and walking becomes painful for these long-ranging animals,’’ he said, pointing to the benefits they will get from the new hydrotherapy clinic.

Kartick Satyanarayan, co-founder and CEO Wildlife SOS, said: “An effective complementary treatment for the elephants’ painful joints and feet is hydrotherapy, a form of physical therapy that uses the therapeutic benefits of water to perform physical rehabilitation in animals.”

“Exerting hydrostatic pressure that compresses muscle and joints, hydrotherapy helps in relieving chronic muscle aches as well as rebuild muscle memory with its natural resistance,” he said.

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