The San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, north of San Diego made use of an orthotic leg brace treatment to help a baby giraffe with a bone disorder to stand and walk.
The baby giraffe was diagnosed with hyperextended carpi — wrist joint bones in giraffes’ front limbs, which are more like arms. The deformity made it hard for her to stand and walk since the giraffe’s front legs bent abnormally.
Staff at the safari park were concerned about Msituni, the baby giraffe. They thought she would die if there was no immediate solution. As a result, they turned to the Hanger Clinic’s orthotic experts. Although the Hanger Clinic exclusively treats humans, members of the San Diego-based team worked with the zoo to establish a personalized treatment for Msituni.
“We are so glad to have the resources and expertise to step in and provide this young calf the opportunity for a full life,” said Matt Kinney. Kinney is a senior veterinarian with the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance (SDZWA). “Without these lifesaving braces to provide support, the position of her legs would have become increasingly more painful and progressed to a point she would not have been able to overcome.”
Reduction in more than 40% of the giraffe population in the last 20 years
Sharing the details about the progress of the baby giraffe, the zoo added, “following initial device fittings, the team quickly fabricated the custom-molded carbon graphite orthotic braces by using cast moldings of the calf’s legs and fit Msituni with her new devices.”
Following her birth, the baby giraffe suffered from several acute illnesses and needed continuous antibiotics to treat blood irregularities. Fortunately, all the treatments worked well and antibiotics have been stopped. The legs have regained their position and there is no longer the need for braces. The baby giraffe is now with the rest of the giraffe herd in the safari park’s East Africa savanna habitat. Scientists believe that there are under 100,000 giraffes in their natural habitats. It is a reduction of more than 40% in the last 20 years