Cervical Salter I Physeal Fracture in a Baringo Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2010
Jennifer J. Kilburn1,3, DVM; Dustin V. Devine2, DVM, DACVS; Robert J. Bahr2, DVM, DACVR; Kay A. Backues1, DVM, DACZM
1Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum, Tulsa, OK, USA; 2Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA; 3The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, USA


A 5-year-old female Baringo giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) sustained a cervical injury during transport from another facility as part of a breeding transfer. Medical management with analgesics, anti-inflammatories, vitamin E, and muscle relaxants was attempted but the apparent severity of the injury increased over time. The animal was immobilized, and radiographs were taken of the affected area and revealed a cranial cervical vertebral Salter I physeal fracture with the cranial articulated vertebrae residing at a 90-degree angle. The animal died during recovery and necropsy dissection of the cervical spine confirmed a fractured C5 vertebrae. The cranial vertebral “cap” had fractured off at the physis and rotated to its final position. Surrounding tissues were severely affected and the spinal cord followed the vertebral bodies malalignment by coursing over the injury at a 90-degree angle. The animal showed no neurologic deficits suggestive of cervical spinal impingement. Tissues were submitted for histopathology to the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA) and showed extradural fibrosis of the spinal cord and severe, chronic fibrosis of the skeletal muscle surrounding the affected vertebrae. The injury sustained was inoperable and the clinical impression is that neurologic deficits were the most likely sequelae.


Speaker Information
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Jennifer J. Kilburn, DVM
Tulsa Zoo & Living Museum
Tulsa, OK, USA

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