The Giraffe Plasma Bank & the Butterfly Effect - AZA Ungulates
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The Giraffe Plasma Bank & the Butterfly Effect L Dadone, VMD, P Bapodra-Villaverde, BVetMed, DACZM, E Stringer, DVM, DACZM, K Thomas, DVM, C Bradford, DVM, DACZM, M Barrie, DVM, C Rettenmund, DVM, DACZM, J Torres, DVM, S Carle, DVM, D Wilfong, CVT, & A Schilz
The Giraffe Plasma Bank was created because about ¼ of zoo giraffe mortalities may be associated w neonates
50 Yrs of Giraffe Mortality Data Non- infectious n = 1,310 Disease Neonate 8% 26% (1967-2017) Restraint 12% Infectious From Dadone & Trauma Disease 24% 25% Klaphake, 2017
Causes of Newborn Giraffe Mortality • Congenital abnormalities • Joint hyperextension • Umbilical hernia complications • White muscle disease • Dystocia • Failure of passive transfer • Hand-rearing complications • Maternal neglect • Trauma • Hyperextended fetlocks
What is Failure of Passive Transfer? • Newborn hoofstock need to absorb maternal antibodies & proteins from colostrum in their 1st day • Without this, calves may die from infections • Colostrum from other species (ie domestic cows) will not necessarily provide pathogen- specific immunity
Plasma Transfusions • Plasma transfusions can provide antibodies for calves that don’t get sufficient colostrum • Using trained blood-draw behaviors, CMZoo started banking giraffe plasma in preparation for our next giraffe calf
•CMZoo’s calf “Rae” didn’t need our banked plasma •But this plasma was needed by another zoo w a newborn giraffe
Denver Zoo made headlines by saving newborn giraffe “Dobby” - Medical care included a plasma transfusion from a CMZoo giraffe
Based on this demonstrated need, we started a national Giraffe Plasma Bank • Blood samples collected using trained behaviors!
Giraffe Plasma Recipients, Year #1 Case # Outcome Sex Date Comments 1 Lived M 3/17 2 Lived F 4/17 3 Died M 5/17 Dislocated hip 4 Died M 6/17 Head tilt 5 Lived M 6/17 MRSA infection 6 Lived F 1/18 Total 4 lived, 2 died 4.2
Plasma transfusions also helped other hoofstock species An okapi calf at Denver Zoo was saved w okapi plasma donated from the Columbus Zoo, Dec 2017
50 Yrs of Okapi Mortality Data n = 91 Trauma (1967-2017) 15% Neonate 45% From Dadone & Infectious Klaphake, 2017 Disease 30%
Training hoofstock for blood collections & sharing blood products saves lives • Should zoos create plasma banks for okapi & other hoofstock species w high neonate mortality?
Increasing neonate survival will help us maintain genetic diversity SSP Goal: >90% genetic diversity for 10 generations Are we on track? • Generic giraffe: Green (n = 425) • Masai giraffe: Yellow (n = 120) • Okapi: Yellow (n = 105) • Malayan tapir: Red (n = 35) • Red-flanked duiker: Red (n = 34)
Potential Additional Benefits of the Plasma Bank
Regular Access to Blood Could Help Us Make Medical Advancements for Giraffe • Individual animal care & diagnosis • Identify species-specific doses for pain meds, antibiotics, etc • Develop new treatments (ie stem cell therapy)
Medical Advancement: Stem Cell Therapy Lame giraffe 1 day before Recheck 3 wks after hoof trim & stem cell therapy (4/18/17) stem cell therapy (5/10/17)
Media Opportunities • The media loves stories about zoo babies, quality medical care & collaborations
Even when critical cases don’t survive, these stories raise awareness for the great work of our modern zoos • Opportunity to message about Zoo’s animal care & other programs • AZA community benefits w examples of great animal care & attention to welfare
Raising Awareness for the Great Work of Zoos Helps Counter Anti- Zoo Welfare Concerns •We can prevent some giraffe calf mortalities w plasma transfusions
Increased Collaborations Benefit Us All • Sharing resources & ideas helps us provide better animal care • These partnerships help us build a community to benefit giraffe in zoos & in the wild
Conclusions • Plasma transfusions can help prevent some giraffe calf mortalities • Plasma banking could benefit breeding programs for multiple hoofstock species • Trained medical behaviors are helping us advance zoo animal care • Should trained blood-draw behaviors be a standard of care for giraffe?
Resources • Girafferesourcecentre.org • Giraffe plasma bank protocol • firstname.lastname@example.org • Priya.Bapodra@ columbuszoo.org •Annual Giraffe Care Workshop at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Please Join the Giraffe Plasma Bank!! Your logo HERE!
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