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Mammals (other)
Hypocalcaemia in a six-month-old hand-reared female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
  1. George Frik Stegmann,
  2. Roxanne Buck and
  3. Jaques O'Dell
  1. Department of Companion Animal Clinical Studies, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa
  1. Correspondence to George Frik Stegmann, frik.stegmann{at}


Radiological examination and surgical biopsy were required of a swelling in the cervical region in a healthy 200 kg, six-month-old hand-reared female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis). Induction was with intramuscular administration of medetomidine, butorphanol and ketamine and maintained with 1.5 per cent isoflurane-in-oxygen on a circle anaesthetic machine. Induction and maintenance were uneventful but recovery delayed and characterised by hindlimb weakness, opistotonus and torticollis of the head and neck. Atipamezole and naltrexone were administered to facilitate recovery but with minimal clinical improvement. Venous blood gas analysis indicated moderate metabolic acidosis, hypochloraemia, increased anion gap and marked hypocalcaemia (0.64 mmol/l). Intravenous administration of 60 ml calcium borogluconate resulted in a rapid improvement in muscle tone and the ability to stand. Hypocalcaemia was diagnosed in a juvenile giraffe after anaesthesia characterised by delayed recovery. Intravenous administration of calcium borogluconate resulted in rapid recovery of muscle strength and ambulance.

  • giraffe
  • Giraffa camelopardalis
  • hypocalcaemia
  • Anaesthesia
  • ketamine
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