“They asked if I or a colleague had any interest in consulting or participating in the case,” Biedrzycki said.
JoJo had a severe case of septic arthritis in the medial claw of her right front foot, he said. The zoo had been treating the giraffe with analgesics, antibiotics and stall rest, and had even applied a custom-made boot from a farrier who works with exotic hoof stock. However, radiographs appeared to show bone abnormalities and deterioration, contributing to lesions and fluid drainage.
“I told them that giraffes are certainly not my area of expertise, but in a bovine or horse with this condition we would do massive bone grafts, place antibiotic beads, administer antibiotics directly into the limb and spend lots of time and money trying to save the digit. In a cow, we would drill out and remove the dead or damaged tissue surrounding the foot bone. Then we would cast it followed by regular bandage changes on the limb and leave it to heal.”
That was essentially what was done with the giraffe, he said — but with the addition of the placental compound.
Biedrzycki spoke with Kim, who had used the placental compound successfully in a few cases. Kim put Biedrzycki in touch with McFetridge to further discuss the product and its potential for treating infections and stimulating bone growth.
Biedrzycki then brainstormed with Jacksonville Zoo veterinarian Yousef Jafarey, D.V.M., and his team to develop a plan: They would cut out the diseased bone, clean out the area and put in bone allografts, antibiotic beads and the placental product “to try to speed things up.”
The giraffe wore a cast on her foot, and three cast changes were performed six weeks apart. The second time, the area was cleaned out a bit more and additional placental compound was applied, Biedrzycki said.