Viewers left ‘in tears of joy’ when baby elephant who contracted a deadly disease makes it out alive

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Channel 5 viewers were left in ‘tears of joy’ after following the fate of a baby elephant at a Thai elephant hospital last night. 

Two-year-old Minnie was being treated for the Elephant Herpes Virus, which can kill the animals, at the Lampang’s Elephant Hospital where the show was filmed.

100 sick and wounded elephants are treated at the centre each year, with elephant keepers, called mahouts, looking after them, and wildlife expert Dr Paul O’Donoghue travelled to the hospital to observe their work. 

Firecracker Minnie was put on an antibiotic course after being diagnosed and tugged at the heartstrings of viewers. 

Many noted they were disappointed at the fact the hospital used chains on their animal patients.  

Channel 5 viewers were left in 'tears of joy' following the fate of a baby elephant at a Thai elephant hospital last night. Two-year-old Minnie was being treated for the Elephant Herpes Virus, which can kill the animals, at the Lampang's Elephant Hospital where the show, which aired last night, was filmed

Channel 5 viewers were left in ‘tears of joy’ following the fate of a baby elephant at a Thai elephant hospital last night. Two-year-old Minnie was being treated for the Elephant Herpes Virus, which can kill the animals, at the Lampang’s Elephant Hospital where the show, which aired last night, was filmed

In the show we learned that the virus Minnie suffered from had killed 60 baby elephants across Thailand in the past 12 months. 

Marty, her carer, said he was very worried about her and constantly stayed by her side. 

He had the difficult job or feeding 60 anti-viral tablets a day to stubborn Minnie, who did not necessarily want to take her medicine.  

‘Like any baby animals, they don’t like taking medicine, but you put it in the bananas and it is their favourite food,’ Paul said.

Minnie had a fever and her behaviour changed, which tipped the doctors off that something was not right

Minnie had a fever and her behaviour changed, which tipped the doctors off that something was not right 

Clever Marty would hide several medicines in the bananas, which he peeled and fed to Minnie everyday. 

Paul observed the carer and elephant were ‘thick as thieves,’ and that Marty would rarely leave Minnie’s side.  

The elephant calf triggered alarm bells at the hospital when she appeared to lack energy. 

Elephant herpes, which was first documented in Asia in 1995, is an hemorrhagic disease particularly fatal to elephant calves. In order for the animal to survive, they need to be treated quickly, and only a third of babies fully recover.  

Wildlife expert Dr Pau; Donoghue travelled to the Lampang’s Elephant Hospital in Thailand to see how it worked

Wildlife expert Dr Pau; Donoghue travelled to the Lampang’s Elephant Hospital in Thailand to see how it worked 

One of the first symptoms of the disease is a high temperature, which meant a doctor from the Elephant Hospital had to take Minnie’s temperature by keeping a thermometrer in her buttocks for one minute. 

Minnie’s temperature was higher than 90 degree Fahrenheit, confirming the fears she had contracted the virus. 

She was immediately put on an antibiotic course to fight off the disease. 

Thankfully, Minnie’s treatment proved successful thanks to the relentless care of Marty. 

Carers, called mahouts, look after the elephants and their calves, making sure they are healthy

Carers, called mahouts, look after the elephants and their calves, making sure they are healthy 

This was good news to the show’s viewers, who had felt for the poor baby elephant.  

‘Loved seeing Minnie recover, Such a good programme,’ one said. 

‘Well Minnie was a little terror! But so glad to see she recovered!! I now want to shower an elephant to gain its friendship,’ said another. 

‘Wonderful news for Minnie and everyone caring at the Elephant Hospital. Only tissues needed for tears of joy,’ said another elephant lover. 

‘Loving the #ElephantHospital on ch5 but it’s already pulling at my heartstrings with the sick baby elephant and her mother staying compassionately close,’ said another.

Viewers felt for Minnie and celebrated her recovery, however, some noted it was a shame the hospital used chains

Viewers felt for Minnie and celebrated her recovery, however, some noted it was a shame the hospital used chains 

However, some viewers said they struggled to enjoy the programme, because the hospital kept some elephants still using chains.  

‘Not loving seeing the chains round the elephant’s necks & they really shouldn’t be ridden any more. Managed 5 minutes of #ElephantHospital & had to turn it off. Shame as they’re my favourite animals,’ one said. 

‘Watching #ElephantHospital not happy about the amount of elephants in chains! Are they just sending the poor creatures back out in to the tourist trade,’ said another. 

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