Dystocia in a Rothschild Giraffe at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife, Nairobi, Kenya

A 15-year old female Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) weighing approximately 800kg, at the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife (AFEW), Giraffe Center, Langata, Nairobi, Kenya was presented with dystocia in June 2010. This giraffe named Laura, had a protracted labor and was regularly monitored by sanctuary education staff. Dystocia was relieved on the 3rd day at this wildlife sanctuary. The giraffe was chemically immobilized by using 7mg of Etorphine Hcl (0.98%) (M99®) (Norvatis South Africa (Pty) Limited) and 50mg of Azaperone(10%) (Kyron Laboratories (Pty) Limited, South Africa) in a Dan-Inject dart (Dan-inject APS, Sellerup Skowej, Denmark). On obstetrical examination of the giraffe, a fetal malposition type of dystocia had occurred. The fetus was positioned at posterior presentation extended posture with tail butting on the maternal pelvis, which is abnormal in giraffes. The fetus was manually extracted by using both alternate and simultaneous limb traction. The dam survived the procedure and later was reported to be in a good reproductive condition but the male fetus was a stillbirth. The fetus had died due to stress of prolonged labour. Relief of dystocia in giraffes is a difficult obstetrical procedure because obstetrical examination and relief requires chemical immobilization plus physical restrain with ropes by trained staff. Anesthesia or immobilization of giraffes remains a challenge because of the giraffe's unique anatomy and physiology. Giraffes are large animals which limits physical control and manipulation at critical times during induction and recovery of anesthesia. Giraffe's long neck if not pinned to the ground will act as a lever causing fatal injuries to self and support staff. Giraffes develop elevated systolic blood pressure; have a small respiratory tidal volume with a large dead space and relatively small cardiac output during anesthesia, which compromises safe levels of anesthesia.

Publish DateDecember 14, 2018
Last UpdatedJanuary 26, 2021
Size94.36 KB