In a rather heartbreaking turn of events, an eight-week-old giraffe named Penny from Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs has been euthanized this week amid an overabundance of health complications.
Image Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
At first glance, Penny appeared to have a simple leg infection, and so she was transferred to Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences so that experts could provide her with the proper treatment. Unfortunately, there was more wrong with Penny than initially thought.
Upon closer examination, the veterinarians discovered infections in at least three of Penny’s legs. Afterward, they uncovered an abscess in Penny’s abdomen and noticed she also had a dislocated hip.
With Penny being as young as she was, there weren't many treatment options, and the health complications would have severely hindered her quality of life. The team ultimately decided that euthanization would be the most humane option, and moved forward with the procedure on Monday.
“We will all miss Penny tremendously,” Cheyenne Mountain Zoo CEO Bob Chastain said in a statement.
“Although our sadness at this time is palpable, we are taking solace in the fact that we truly believe we made the best decisions for her during her short life that we could. And we hope those who have watched Penny’s journey can take comfort in the fact that we made every decision with Penny’s best interests in mind, and we held nothing back from her fans. We were all in this together.”
While the health complications may have been treatable individually, Penny was at a particular disadvantage because she was dealing with several health complications simultaneously. Any attempts to treat Penny’s conditions would have taken excessive time to heal, follow-up surgeries would have been necessary, and recovery wasn’t guaranteed.
In honor of Penny’s life, the zoo is planning a memorial service in which guests will be able to pay their tributes. Additionally, research conducted during Penny’s analysis will go on to improve treatment options for giraffes impacted by similar health complications in the future.