Tuberculosis Treatment in Elephants

Treatment is based on protocols known to be effective in
humans in general. Three anti-Tuberculous drugs are
administrated for 2months. This is followed administration
of two drugs for10 months. The first line drugs include
isoniazid (INH); pyrazinamide (PZA) Rifampin (RIF), and
ethambutol (ETH) pharmacokinetics of the following drugs
has been studied in elephants. They are INH, ETH, and,
PZA. INH and PZA may be given orally and rectaly. RIF can
be given only orally. Starting doses are:

1.INH (oral or rectal5mg. per kg.)
2.RIF  (oral 10mg. per kg.)
3.PZA (oral and rectal 30mg. per kg.)
4.ETH  (oral 30mg. per kg.)

Blood level measurements are recommended. Side effects
like anorexia; lethargy, low-grade anaemia, and pica are

Elephants that are known to shedding should be isolated
from other elephants but social isolation may produce
stress. And may even exacerbate the condition. The
disease after the treatment started, shedding general
stops within a few weeks.

Chemical disinfections are difficult with tuberculosis bacilli.
The efficacy of disinfects is effected by environmental
temperature, type of surface, chemical used, its
concentration, contact time of the product with the
pathogen. Other factors are quantum of pathogen,
virulence and presence of organic material.
T.B organisms are very sensitive to ultraviolet radiation.
This is a very favourable condition for elephant range

Some of the antiseptics that can be used are phenol,
parachlorometaxylinol, chlorine, and ammonium chloride.
The exposure time varies for different antiseptics, which
may be from five minutes to ten minutes.
Being a zoonotic disease, assure personal safety. Gears
like filter masks and protective clothing’s like gloves, boots
should be worn. Hand washing is essential.   
November 2006
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