JUL 11, 2017 09:17 AM PDT

Maryland Zoo Giraffe Calf Undergoes Second Plasma Transfusion

Several baby animals have been born in zoos lately, ranging from giant panda cubs to elephant calves, but another birth that slipped under the radar just last month was a giraffe calf that goes by the name of Julius.

He was around 6 feet tall at birth, which is to be expected for a creature with such a long neck, but while Julius’ tall stature may be convincing of good health, don’t let it deceive you.

Veterinarians and park staff work to feed Julius formula from a bottle manually in the face of declining health.

Image Credit: Maryland Zoo

Julius is having some serious health issues, and veterinarians are working around the clock to help ensure his survival.

He didn’t get the antibodies he needed from his mother when he was born, so he underwent a plasma transfusion just three days after birth. A second plasma transfusion was conducted over the weekend, three weeks later, a feat made possible by a generous donation from Colorado’s Cheyanne Mountain Zoo.

Related: Giraffes are beginning to be recognized as a vulnerable animal species

The process to nurse Julius into good health has been challenging, and he isn’t out of the woods just yet. His health appears to be in a spiraling decline, and keeping him stable is a struggle.

“He has had peaks and valleys throughout his treatment as many critical patients will, but the newest step in the last couple days has definitely been in the negative direction,” says Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian.

In addition to issues with feeding Julius formula from a bottle, he is also beginning to exhibit signs of infection, which is a red flag considering his antibody shortage makes fighting infection more difficult.

All options are on the table; continued treatment and even euthanasia are being considered. Veterinarians are trying their best to avoid the latter outcome.

“There is certainly that possibility (of euthanasia), but it is not one that we’re looking forward to,” Sander says. “We’re still working with him to not have to come to that conclusion.”

Related: Rare white giraffe spotted in Tanzania

Fortunately, Julius' bloodwork results following the second plasma transfusion were looking slightly better. He is being supported with antibiotics to fight infection, so there’s hope that he might get better over the next few days. 

For now, intensive 24-hour care continues, and there’s not much else that can be done besides waiting to see what happens.

Source: Maryland Zoo via CBS Baltimore

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 09, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 09, 2018
Radio Tracking Could Help Control Asian Hornet Populations in the UK
Asian hornets have become a significant problem in the United Kingdom. These pesky insects feast on honeybees and other vital pollinating insects, and thei...
JUL 10, 2018
Cell & Molecular Biology
JUL 10, 2018
Newly Found Enzyme can Help Turn Plant Waste to Plastic
Scientists discovered an enzyme that can harvest a versatile molecule from trash....
JUL 18, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 18, 2018
The Secret Behind Deep-Diving Dolphins May Reside in Their Blood
When researchers noticed common bottlenose dolphins in Bermuda diving up to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface, they quickly started to wonder wh...
JUL 23, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 23, 2018
These Sneaky Monkeys Scavenge Nuts That Are Pre-Cracked by Predators
Throughout West Africa’s Taï National Park, the miniature mangabey monkey scavenges on the remnants of hard nuts that have been cracked open by...
JUL 24, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 24, 2018
These Animals Experience Harsher Childbirths Than Humans
You might be quick to think that humans have it hard during childbirth, but compared to a few other species in the animal kingdom, humans actually have it...
AUG 08, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 08, 2018
These Parasitizing Birds Match Their Egg Size to Their Host's
Researchers have long recognized the oriental cuckoo as a brood parasite, meaning that it lays its eggs in other birds’ nests so that the host can ra...
Loading Comments...