ATLANTA, Ga. (WRBL) – Zoo Atlanta’s oldest member of the giraffe heard, Abu, is recovering well after a planned major veterinary procedure. The Animal Care and Veterinary Team at Zoo Atlanta partnered with Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP) in early August, ZHTP specializes in the hoof care of giraffes.
ZHTP and an anesthesiology team from the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine removed the two special therapeutic shoes Abu was fitted with in May 2021. They also administered stem cell therapy which has proven to be helpful in treating osteoarthritis in a variety of species. They collected stem cells from Abu’s own blood. The procedure required general anesthesia which is risky especially for giraffes, given their unusual anatomy and physiology.
The therapeutic shoes are also used in horses and cows and are not intended to be worn for extended periods. The goal is to help stabilize Abu’s joints and relieve the discomfort associated with his arthritis. The Zoo Atlanta team will continue to manage his condition with analgesic medications, therapeutic laser therapy, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy, and regular hoof trimming, which Abu has been trained to participate in voluntarily.
To learn more about Abu, the other two members of his herd visit zooatlanta.org.