Foot diseases are the main cause of mortality in captive large mammals however they are not very common in wild species. This study aims to unravel how captivity has altered foot function and led to pathogeneses. I hypothesise that wild species have evolved efficient foot designs as adaptations to minimise pressures that can cause tissue damage. I also propose that obesity coupled with substrate properties, inefficient foot care, and lack of exercise upset the natural foot mechanics and lead to tissue disorders in captive animals. My study will create a novel predictive clinical foundation for foot disease and foot care in large mammals and will benefit their health and welfare.
- Panagiotopoulou O, Pataky TC, Hill Z, Hutchinson JR (2012). Statistical parametric mapping of the regional distribution and ontogenetic scaling of foot pressures during walking in Asian elephants (Elephas maximus). Journal of Experimental Biology 215 1584-1593