Zoo: Elephant died of arthritis medication side effects

Published: Apr. 26, 2013 at 7:17 PM CDT
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BAKER, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge Zoo has released the cause of death for Judy, an Asian elephant.

Results from the necropsy show that she died from chronic gastrointestinal irritation, a side effect of her arthritis treatment.

"The drug that was the most effective in her treatment also had side effects which included gastrointestinal irritation," said Zoo Veterinarian Gordon Pirie.  "To reduce the side effects, the treatment drug's dosage was reduced to the lowest possible level that would still provide the needed relief.  So, in addition to treating the arthritis, we also treated her for the side effects."

Judy was diagnosed with arthritis in her front legs in 1983.  She was treated with arthritis and pain medication as well as physical therapy by the zoo veterinarian and staff.

Asian elephants live to a median age of 46.9 years.  Judy was 46 at the time of her death.

Judy had been at the Baton Rouge Zoo since 1974.

Donations or memorial gifts can be sent to:

Elephant Conservation Fund
Baton Rouge Zoo
P.O. Box 60
Baker, LA 70704

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