Diagnosis and treatment of a fractured third phalanx in a Masai giraffe (Giraffe camelopardalis tippelskirchi)

A 10 yr old male Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) presented with acute right forelimb lameness. Radiographs revealed a fracture of the medial claw of the distal phalanx penetrating into the distal interphalangeal joint. The giraffe was sedated while it was standing in a chute, and a wooden "hoof block" was applied to the lateral claw of the same limb. The animal was no longer lame 3 days after the procedure. Subsequent treatments included vitamin E, phenylbutazone, and glycosaminoglycans. For 7 wk it was maintained in a small holding yard on packed sand during the day and on deep sand during the night. The hoof block slowly wore down, and at 7 wk, it was placed back on concrete in the evening. At 8wk, the block had completely worn off and the animal was no longer lame, but radiographs indicated minimal fracture healing. Radiographs performed at 7 mo indicated that there was still a radiolucent zone at the fracture line but calcification was evident at the margins of the fracture.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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