Center of Elephant and Wildlife Research, CMU Examine of Blood Compatibility test, and Fresh-Frozen Plasma in Asian Elephant: First Time of Thailand

22 August 2019

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

Researchers of Chiang Mai University accomplished the examination of compatibility of blood and plasma transfusion in elephants first time of Thailand. The team has discovered the keeping of plasma of elephant in frozen form for 1 year, of which efficacy is enough for treatment in the remote area and for emergency cases.
Associate Professor Dr. Chatchote Thitaram, D.V.M., Ph.D., Lecturer, and Dr. Pakkanut Bansiddhi, D.V.M, Ph.D., Lecturer, Center of Elephant and Wildlife Research, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University said that Center of Elephant and Wildlife Research, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University collaborated with Professor Dr. Preeyanat Vongchan, Ph.D., Lecturer, Department of Medical Technology, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University; with the National Elephant Institute; Thai Elephant Alliance Association and Elephant Camps in Chiang Mai have conducted research about plasma transfusion, which is part of blood and contains important protein and various immunities. The research project has started from checking the blood compatibility test (major and minor cross match) in Asian elephants, and consequently the development of Rabbit anti – elephant immunoglobulin G, which made the compatibility test was clearer. The results showed incompatibility of cross match in many elephants, which can cause health problems if blood or plasma transfusion are performed. Therefore, this procedure should be done with critical care.

Since working with elephants, veterinarians have to travel in the remote area; thus, plasma could not be well prepared and used immediately in an emergency case such as infectious disease in elephant calf; i.e. elephant endotheliotropic herpes virus (EEHV). This lethal virus is severe and can cause to death in elephant within 24 – 48 hours after the appearance of clinical signs with high mortality rate of 70% even under veterinary care. Therefore, critical treatment and management should be well prepared.

Thus, efficacy of fresh-frozen plasma was assessed, and found that the important composition could be stored in the freezer for 1 year, and ready for using in an emergency case. Fresh plasma and fresh-frozen plasma have been used in treating in several elephants, such as those animals who do not eat food and do not drink water for 20 days, lose their blood after delivery, lose their blood because of EEHV infection etc. Thus, this is the first time of Thailand to prepare fresh-frozen plasma in Asian elephant, which can be kept for 1 year. This research can save many lives of elephants, a symbol of Chiang Mai University and Thailand. This research has been disseminated in order to help elephants around the world.