Original Research

Investigating the depth of thermal burns in elephants

A. Shakespeare, J. Steyl, S. Strydom
Journal of the South African Veterinary Association | Vol 77, No 3 | a361 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jsava.v77i3.361 | © 2006 A. Shakespeare, J. Steyl, S. Strydom | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 June 2006 | Published: 08 June 2006

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A. Shakespeare,
J. Steyl,
S. Strydom,

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Histological examination of burn injuries in elephants revealed that the depth was not as severe as expected from clinical observation. Although the actual burn depth was deep, the thickness of elephant skin, especially the dermis, resulted in the lesions being classified as less severe than expected. Examination of skin samples from selected areas showed that most lesions were either superficial (1st degree) or superficial partial-thickness (superficial 2nd degree) burns with the occasional deep partial thickness (deep 2nd degree) wound. These lesions however, resulted in severe complications that eventually led to the death of a number of the elephants.


Depth; Elephants; Thermal Burns; Survivability


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