Anyone who has suffered from head lice will know how incredibly irritating they can be. Imagine being an elephant infested with these parasites!
We knew Jum Nong had skin problems before we rescued her earlier in the week. Once the WFFT Vet team could get a closer look at her they discovered her skin was literally crawling with lice. These parasites are incredibly irritating. They have long mouths and very strong jaws which bite into the elephant’s skin. Though their skin is very thick it is also very sensitive. The lice feed on blood which is why they need long mouths to reach it. The eggs are attached to the hairs and hatch in around 3 weeks.
Jum Nong was sprayed with a special insecticide to kill the small parasites. This is not an easy job and has to be repeated regularly to break their reproductive life cycle. In addition, she was given an anthelmintic by mouth which will kill any parasites left when they feed on the blood. The lice are very debilitating to an old emaciated elephant. Causing compulsive scratching, they prevented Jum Nong from resting and feeding properly. In addition, the scratching caused secondary wounds. The WFFT Vet Team have been washing her skin every day with a special shampoo to treat these wounds.
Within a few days Jum Nong has visibly improved. She does not spend every moment now scratching but can go about her day doing what the rest of the herd in Project 4 do: whatever they please!
Jum Nong has been an incredible patient. She never complains or acts up. She knows we are trying to help her and already feels the benefit of the vet team’s hard work. Though only 1-2 mm long these tiny creatures were making this gentle giant’s life a misery. Not anymore!
Thank you again for everyone who made her rescue and treatment possible.