Training giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) for front foot radiographs and hoof care

For a large herd of reticulated giraffes, a mainly operant-based training program was created for front foot radiographs and hoof trims in an effort to diagnose and better manage lameness. Behaviors were shaped in a restricted contact set-up, using a positive reinforcement procedure to teach a series of mastered cued behaviors. This training was used to obtain lateral and lateral oblique front foot radiographs for the entire herd. Radiographs were diagnostic for multiple possible causes of lameness including fractures and osteitis of the distal phalangeal bone, hoof overgrowth, osteoarthritis of the distal interphalangeal joint, rotation of the distal phalangeal bone, sesamoid bone cysts, and sole foreign bodies. By training giraffe for foot radiographs and hoof trims, potential causes of lameness could be identified and better managed. Long-term, the results may help zoos identify best practices for managing and preventing lameness in giraffe.

Last Updated
January 31, 2021
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