Gajraj, spent 70 years as a temple elephant before coming to Wildlife SOS (India) a rescue for India’s working animals. For decades, he walked on hot, unnatural surfaces that gradually led to compromised footpads worn thin, pink and painful.

The rescue needed a solution to help Gajraj and many of their other rescued Asian elephants.  Veterinarians sought advice from the international elephant community, what can be done to relieve an elephant’s aching feet?  The answer – Sole Guard, manufactured in the US by Vettec.

Gajraj’s foot is prepared for an application of Sole Guard. Photo Credit: Wildllife SOS

Sole Guard is a liquid hoof protector painted on the bottom of a horse’s foot. It dries to form a layer of cushion that protects barefoot horses ridden on hard ground. It is also working well for Gajraj, easily applied within a few minutes he is able to walk more comfortably. The pad also provides a sturdy barrier allowing his thinned foot pad to heal.

Gajraj is not the first elephant to benefit from an application of Sole Guard.  Several zoos have found it to provide effective relief.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (UK) found Sole Guard an effective for 30-year-old female Asian elephant with one leg shorter than the others. A thick layer was applied to the shorter leg to even out the elephant’s stance.


The Oregon Zoo (Portland, OR) used Sole Guard to temporarily protect the foot of their bull elephant, Tusko, when it was damaged by a painful scuff.

Borrowing from the idiom What’s good for the good is good for the gander, What’s good for the horse is good for the elephant.