There is an ancient proverb which says:
“You can take a horse to a pond but you cannot make it drink.” In like manner many doctors have discovered at Zoo Hospitals that you can show a potential patient of the Animal Kingdom a powder or a pill but you cannot make it swallow the remedy. To obviate this, doctors have had to devise ways and means of administering medicines to animal patients and the manner and mode involves employing various tricks which are rather curious in their conception and implementation.

It is recalled how a sick elephant, who refused to take his medicine, was fooled by the doctors into swallowing the bitter powder it had to be administered. Recollecting that the animal had a fondness for potatoes, a large potato was procured, carefully sliced into two portions. Half was scooped out, the powder placed in it, and the potato was closed again to form a full one. This was placed, with other potatoes, on a tray and taken to the ailing elephant. The animal ate some of the other potatoes, without the medicine- then picking up the one with the bitter powder, unaware of the medicine disguised in it, gobbled it and with a few hasty crunches the potato and medicine, which worked the cure subsequently, had disappeared into his stomach.

There are cases when doctors have been called upon to hide medicine to administer to animals in loaf-sugar because of their bitter taste being repugnant to them. It is known that several animals like loaf-sugar so much—sugar-candy pieces –that they are not averse to taking any remedy. It is known that keepers at the zoo often have to resort to this trick in order to induce animals to swallow their medicine. An instance is cited of a Giraffe taking its medicine, although very bitter, when given to it on a lump of loaf-sugar.

Caster oil smell is enough to repulse patients. But when veterinary doctor of a zoo had to administer it this repugnant purgative, they found that the only way to make it take it was by pouring it over its head. When the castor oil oozed over its head, the ant-eater soon licked it off with its long tongue, resembling a worm, and thus the trick was done and the cure performed.

A spoonbill, very ill and at death’s door, was cured by the ingenuity of zoo doctors. It was administered a dose of castor oil when a fish, which spoonbills relish, was opened out and filled with the laxative. This done, the fish was dangled temptingly in front of the sick bird’s beak. It was a dish of fish to relish, and the spoonbill just could not resist it. So he gobbled it, and thus swallowed its castor oil, which cured it after a couple of days.
Gathered from : All about animals (Animal citizen vol. IV no.4)


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