Friday, November 25, 2011

Veterinary Visit

Today we had a special visit from a travelling elephant vet clinic. A Thai non-profit organization, Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE), provides a free mobile vet clinic and makes visits to remote locations such as ours. During this visit our elephants received check-ups by Dr Taweepoke, who was also kind enough to speak with our volunteers and help improve our health check procedures. Thursday is a health check hike for us so it corresponded perfectly with the vet’s visit.

Dr Taweepoke began by looking at Thong Dee, who was very cooperative. He said that she is doing great and that her teeth are still in good condition, which is important since many older elephants die of starvation because they lose their teeth and can’t eat. She had been having some vaginal issues, but he said she was looking good, which is great to hear. He also drew blood from her to test for disease and parasites. After finishing with Thong Dee he went to inspect Boon Jan but she was very nervous and would not let him get to close. He finished up with Mana and our two infant elephants. The vet also scanned the elephants for their registration implants – microchips - which has their specific ID number. Elephants are officially registered in order to prevent poaching and also to keep track of the elephant’s history throughout their life. Additionally, the vet gave the mahouts Albendazole tablets, which are used to de-worm elephants. They are usually given to elephants every three months as a precautionary measure.

After inspecting our elephants the vet was nice enough to sit down with us and look over our health check sheet. Every Tuesday and Thursday volunteers conduct health checks on the elephants in order to monitor their health and wellbeing. Dr Taweepoke was impressed with our health checks and only had a few suggestions to add, such as to check the smell from the faeces. It was a great visit and the vet said he would return in a few weeks to put a registration implant into Song Kran.