Evaluation of Blood Chemistry Values for Possible Relationship to Tuberculosis Infection Status in Captive Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in Nepal
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2007
Karin Hamilton1, DVM; Susan K. Mikota2, DVM; Michele Miller3, DVM, PhD; Genevieve Dumonceaux4, DVM; Kamal Giri5, MVSc; Kamal Gairhe6, BVSc; Sarad Paudel5, BVSc; and Gretchen Kaufman, DVM7
1U.S. Army Veterinary Corps, Fort Sill, OK, USA; 2Elephant Care International, Hohenwald, TN, USA; 3Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL, USA; 4Busch Gardens, Tampa, FL, USA; 5Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Kathmandu, Nepal; 6Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Sauraha, Chitwan, Rampur, Nepal; 7Tufts Center for Conservation Medicine, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA, USA


One hundred fifteen captive elephants (Elephas maximus) were examined in Nepal as part of a tuberculosis (TB) survey in January 2006. Blood chemistry analysis was performed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom laboratory (USA). Trunk wash cultures were performed both in Nepal and in the USA, and serologic TB tests were performed in the USA. Based on culture and serology results, the elephants were grouped as follows: Group 1 (high risk, suggestive or confirmatory for TB infection) and Group 2 (low risk, equivocal or negative for TB infection). Within these groups, subgroups were created based on specific tests results.

Blood chemistry results were analyzed to reveal any relationships between these values and TB infection status. Student t-tests were performed on each value between Groups 1 and 2. The only significant difference was a higher BUN/creatinine ratio (p=0.047) in Group 1. ANOVA analysis was performed on each value between the various groups. Significant differences were found in the albumin level (p=0.015) within the Group 1 subgroups and in the albumin level (p=0.002), alpha globulin 1 level (p=0.030), and A/G ratio (p=0.012) within the Group 2 subgroups.

This study did not reveal an association between certain chemistry values and TB infection. However, this may be due to a variety of age, reproductive statuses, stages of infections, and other possible medical conditions. Future testing of this population will help better define the TB infection status of elephants and may provide additional information to more precisely determine any association between blood chemistry values and tuberculosis infection in Nepal elephants.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the Nepal Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, support from the Abraham Foundation, the Mazuri Fund, the Walter J. Ernst Memorial Fund, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, and the Dodge Foundation, and research contributions from Konstantin Lyaschshenko, Dr. Scott Larsen, Dr. Janet Payeur, and Dr. Ray Waters.


Speaker Information
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Karin Hamilton, DVM
U.S. Army Veterinary Corps
Fort Sill, OK, USA

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