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Medical Procedures

Anesthesia and sedation

Basic supplies and equipment

Blood collection

Blood culture

Breast milk collection manually and using a pump

Culture collection


Fecal analysis

Feeding tube placement

Fluid therapy  - IV / rectal

IM injections

IV injections

IV catheter placement

Oxygen therapy

Plasma collection and administration – ref EEHV

Urine collection (analysis will


Wound treatment

Postmortem exam


Centrifuge, paperfuge, refractometer – simple tests

Antibiotics / medications


Anesthesia may be required for diagnostic and treatment procedures. The health risks of an anesthetic procedure in young elephants is usually acceptable as long as good procedures are being followed. Most invasive procedures can be done under standing sedation. For larger surgeries, general anesthesia wil be required.



Following is a comprehensive list of equipment and supplies that may be needed to carry out the medical procedures that are discussed in this chapter. Larger facilities dedicated to elephant/wildlife rescue and with veterinarians on staff will likely have more of these items on site; small facilities may only need to stock basic items (indicated with a *) and use nearby veterinary clinics or universities for special needs.



  • Stethoscope

  • Thermometers * (Click here  to see how to measure temperature)

  • Scale *

  • Ophthalmoscope

  • Flashlight/Headlamp*

  • Pulsoximeter

  • Oral speculum

  • Laryngoscope

  • Basic instruments (hemostats, forceps, scissors)

  • Endotracheal tubes and stylets

  • Masks to fit over trunk

  • Oxygen tank and regulator

  • Heat lamps or heated blankets*

  • Chemistry unit (or use local human lab)

  • Hematology unit (or use local human lab)

  • Refractometer

  • Centrifuge

  • Xray machine (preferably digital)

The separate clip of this type of pulsoximeter fits on the septum in the trunk tip. 

A 20 liters tank of medical oxygen can be connected to an oxygen reduction valve. A thin flexible tube can be advanced into the trunk (20-30 cm deep). A permanent flow of 10 liters/minute will increase the oxygen supply to the lungs during general anesthesia

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