There are anecdotal reports of hematuria in giraffe and one published report in a giraffe diagnosed with urolithiasis at necropsy.3 The differential diagnosis of haematuria in domestic ruminants includes renal trauma, infarction, glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, nephrotoxicity, urolithiasis, seminal vesiculitis, infection, urogenital tract neoplasia, and coagulopathy.2 Diseases of the prostate and secondary sex glands are not well documented in the giraffe.
A 15-year-old male entire Rothschild giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) developed intermittent hematuria, confirmed with urinalysis. No other clinical signs of disease were present. The giraffe had normal mating behaviour and was fertile. On urinalysis there were red blood cells present without signs of abnormal cells or infection. Various treatments (antibiotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, urinary acidifiers and a GnRH vaccination course) did not resolve the haematuria. The frequency of the episodes of haematuria increased, particularly with mating behaviour.
Twenty months after the onset of haematuria, the patient was immobilized for physical and transrectal sonographical examination and blood sample collection. A trans-rectal sonogram using a curvilinear 11-3 MHz transducer and a 7.5 MHz linear rectal transducer were used to image the urethra, prostate, colliculus seminalis, seminal vesicles, ampulla and urinary bladder. The kidneys could not be examined transabdominally.
Cystic prostatic hyperplasia was diagnosed sonographically1 with presence of a large 4.9 cm x 6.6 cm diameter prostate and multiple prostatic cysts. The giraffe was castrated. Twenty-four days post procedure the urine was normal in appearance and in the 7 months since, the giraffe remains clinically normal without signs of hematuria.
We thank Dr Larry Vogelnest, Dr Lynley Johnson, Dr Nicole Mace and the Mogo Zoo staff involved for their assistance with the immobilization and diagnostic procedure.
1. Lueders I, Niemuller C, Pootoolal J, Rich P, Gray C, Jurgen Streich W, Hildebrandt TB. Sonomorphology of the reproductive tract in the male and pregnant and non-pregnant female Rothschild‖s giraffes (Giraffe camelopardalis rotschildi). Theriogenology. 2009;72: 22–31.
2. Radostits OM, Blood DC, Gay CC. Diseases of the urinary system. In: Veterinary Medicine. A Textbook of Diseases of Cattle, Sheep, Pigs, Goats and Horses. Baillière Tindall; 1994. p. 437–438.
3. Wolfe BA, Sladky KK, and Loomis MR. Obstructive urolithiasis in a reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata). Vet Rec Case Rep. Accessed May 26, 2016. http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/