The Elephant in the Room: Trimming Elephant Feet

Okay, okay, elephant feet aren’t hooves, and my blog posts/podcasts/social media posts are supposed to be about hooves. But what better White Elephant gift for the holidays than a discussion on elephant feet??

Back in March, I received an email from an “elephant farrier” and consultant who listens to my podcast. He mentioned having learned some things here and there in the episodes and wanted to chat with me about – you guessed it – elephant feet. What did I know about elephant feet? To be quite clear, absolutely nothing.

After chatting with the author of the email, Mike McClure, I learned that elephants can need a vast array of trimming approaches, and can have a myriad of toe pathologies just like horses. Elephants can develop “thin soles” (thin pads), have laminitis type issues, cracking on their nails, limb deviations and other conformational issues, just like horses! Hearing Mike talk about the similarities made me realize that comparing these two species might actually be a great way to learn more about our own work.

If you have any questions about exotic animal care, or elephant foot pathology, you can contact Mike directly at

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