Check for cracked and infected toenails and overgrown nails, cuticles, and footpads. Swelling, discoloration, and peeling skin above the nail may indicate infection. At least half of the elephants in captivity experience foot problems, which can result in serious disability or death. Foot infections and arthritis are the leading reasons for euthanizing captive elephants. Lack of exercise, long hours standing on hard substrates, and contamination resulting from standing in their own feces and urine are major contributors to foot-related conditions. Confined elephants require routine pedicures.
Overgrown, infected, and cracked nails are serious and indicate poor husbandry.