SEATTLE - Woodland Park Zoo’s newest baby giraffe was outfitted with therapeutic shoes to help treat abnormalities in his rear legs.
The giraffe was born to his mom, Olivia, last Thursday and had to have his legs radiographed after the zoo’s health team noticed his rear feet were not in normal alignment.
Casts were applied to his legs to help stabilize his limbs a day after his birth, according to a zoo news release.
Associate zoo veterinarian Dr. Tim Storms said, “The condition is known as hyperextended fetlocks. It is well documented in horses and has been reported to occur in giraffes."
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After the zoo consulted with colleagues at other zoos and sought medical literature, the zoo’s exhibit team crafted two-piece shoes made of high-density polyethylene and plywood.
"At this stage, the new therapeutic shoes are on a trial basis but I'm hopeful that they will help him walk better. We'll continue refining and improving our approach to find a good balance between supporting his limbs and strengthening his tendons," Storms said.
Treatment is expected to last over several months for the still-unnamed calf weighing 170.5 pounds.
Olivia and her calf will remain off view for an indefinite period to allow for maternal bonding and nursing, zoo officials said.
To follow updates, you can go here www.zoo.org/giraffe.
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