Health Update on Liz
2010-03-11

Since the arrival of the Hawthorn elephants in 2006, it has been public knowledge that the herd had been previously exposed to tuberculosis. We knew long before their arrival that there would always be a risk that one or more might develop active TB. With a dedicated staff of caregivers, including some that were involved with Misty’s successful treatment, and also with the backing of a group of experts led by Dr. Susan Mikota DVM, we felt confident in our ability to provide the best care possible. The Sanctuary has now confirmed that Liz is presently TB positive and we have an appropriate treatment regimen already in place.

Of the eight elephants that we received in 2006, Liz was the most suspected of having TB. Prior to coming to the Sanctuary, she had a long history of sporadic weight loss, along with intermittent coughing, a sign of possible lung infection, but all of her test results were negative. Shortly after arrival, Liz rapidly put on weight to the point that we had to reduce her supplemental grains a bit. This promising weight gain, combined with her negative tests results, encouraged all of us that Liz did not have active TB; still, we continued to look for other possible causes to her medical history.

Although Lizzie’s positive test results are not what we had hoped for, we find some comfort in knowing the cause of her symptoms, allowing us to move forward in a way that will alleviate them. We are thrilled to report that Liz is doing exceptionally well with her treatment and uniquely cooperative in allowing us to administer her rectal medications daily.

Because of the deep bond they share, Billie and Frieda were also moved with Liz to the Phase I quarantine barn. This is the same building previously used by Delhi, shortly followed by Misty and Lota, and then most recently dear sweet Ned. The touching relationship between these three inseparable friends is infinitely profound, providing constant support and endless joy as they continue their sing along of Lizzie’s clucks, Billie’s squeaks, and Frieda’s “whale song.”
  
Currently, we are rapidly accumulating expenses for Liz’s medical treatment, including the medication to combat the TB, formulating the medicine to increase Liz’s comfort, herbal supplements to help Liz tolerate any potential side effects and of course protective equipment for the caregiver staff; including Tyvex coveralls, respirators and gloves. This spring we hope to make a few modifications to the Phase I barn, enhancing the caregivers’ ability to provide the best care possible and to maximize the air quality in the barn.

In the coming weeks we hope to install an additional ele-cam allowing you to watch who we affectionately refer to as “the threesome” frolic, spin and run. Best of all you will get to silently observe Frieda as she takes her daily naps under the close guard of Billie and Liz. We will post specific items on Liz’s wish list if you want to help underwrite, or you can help us take good care of her by donating to Liz's general medical care fund.

» Visit Liz's Wish List.

Stay tuned to our weekly Ele-Notes to monitor Liz’s progress. And thanks for helping us provide her the best of care!