Tulsa Zoo Says X-Ray Next Step For Injured Giraffe - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Tulsa Zoo Says X-Ray Next Step For Injured Giraffe

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Amali [photo: Tulsa Zoo] Amali [photo: Tulsa Zoo]


TULSA, OK -- The giraffe at the Tulsa Zoo with a neck injury appears to be interacting normally with the other giraffes in her exhibit. 

As reported on NewsOn6.com last month, Amali was one of two giraffes shipped to the Tulsa Zoo earlier this year.  But Zoo officials say Amali suffered a neck injury during transport.

11/24/2009 Related story: Tulsa Zoo's New Giraffe Arrives With A Neck Injury  

Amali is currently not on display but the Tulsa Zoo's other new giraffe, Amira, is healthy and on display.   

The next step in Amali's treatment plan is to obtain x-rays of the affected portion of her neck. 

The Tulsa Zoo's veterinary health department is consulting with several veterinary specialists for guidelines on how to safely get x-rays of a 13-foot-tall animal.   

"X-rays of the affected vertebrae will be required before we can implement a potential plan of treatment," said Dr. Kay Backues, Tulsa Zoo's veterinarian. 

Getting a giraffe safely into a position for an examination is a delicate endeavor.  Tulsa Zoo animal behaviorist, Marcie Tarvid, has been working closely with the keeper staff and Amali, using training techniques and positive reinforcement so Amali will feel comfortable entering and exiting a specialized restraint chute.

"Training has gone well with Amali. She appears to be comfortable around the chute and has walked into it on several occasions," said Tarvid,"So when she enters the chute for the examination it will not be a strange new thing for her."

The Tulsa Zoo says a report regarding Amali's status was voluntarily submitted to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  The commission has determined that its standards for animal transport were met and that it will be taking no further action at this time.   

A report was also submitted to the United States Department of Agriculture, the federal agency through which the Tulsa Zoo is licensed.  The USDA is conducting what is referred to as a "focused inspection."

If obtaining diagnostic x-rays is a success, the Tulsa Zoo says there still is the possibility that Amali's injury will not be surgically treatable. 

The zoo says at this time Amali continues to do well; eating, drinking and interacting with the rest of the giraffes normally. 

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