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Feb 2015 Listserv - Giraffe mandibular fracture/suggestions?
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3/6/2015 at 3:40:04 PM GMT
Posts: 17
Feb 2015 Listserv - Giraffe mandibular fracture/suggestions?
I was wondering if I can get some help with this case.  We have a 2 year old female giraffe (466 kg), that 4 days ago keepers noticed that it was not masticating correctly and that its tongue appeared to be in an abnormal position.  It was placed in a giraffe chute and skull radiographs (lateral and VD) were taken. Blood was also collected from the animal's right jugular and submitted for a CBC, Chemistry, Fibrinogen level, and vitamin D/parathyroid panel. As you can see, radiographs showed a complete fracture of the animals lower mandible just cranial to it's mental foramen. (Also can see areas of radioluceny and periosteal proliferation around the fracture site and possibly around the  incisors).  Not sure if there is possible underlying dental pathology as well?  Just wondering your opinion and any suggestions in dealing with this animals case. (Analgesic therapy and time vs External fix with circumferential bar vs Platting?) Animal was also given two days of 1.1 mg/kg of flunxin meglumine PO SID and is currently on meloxicam at 0.1 mg/kg PO SID.  Currently animal is eating grain, hay, and browse pretty well, but is having problems pulling the browse from the stem. 

Has anyone had to deal with this type of fracture?  Any suggestions? 

Thank you for the input 


Rodney Schnellbacher, DVM 
Staff Veterinarian 
Dickerson Park Zoo 

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Last edited Friday, March 6, 2015
3/6/2015 at 3:51:04 PM GMT
Posts: 17
Replies from Listserv

call me biased, but you may want to check this young un for an odontogenic tumor

 - by Mike Garner on Feb 24


They had a fracture similar to that in one of our female giraffes a few years back, elected to do a hemimandibulectomy, animal is still doing well. It was before my time here, but I believe Chris Hanley down in St Louis could give you more info on that case. The periosteal proliferation is the disturbing part, if this was indeed an acute injury that was noted in a timely fashion. May suggest a more insidious cause.......
 - by Ric Berlinski, DVM


As an equally unbiased pathologist, I agree with Mike. That lesion needs to be biopsied.
 - by Yvonne


I monitor discussions quite closely with your list serve and will humbly give my opinion since this problem involves my interest...the oral cavity. There are multiple options to fix fractures within the interdetnal space. These would include: tension-band wiring, oral acrylic splints with/without wire, U-bars, external fixators and bone plating. External fixators and bone plating would not be my first choice due to developing tooth buds (canines, pm). Rostral mandibulectomy would only be an option if this became a non-union or was pathologic. I won't disagree the need to rule out pathologic reason for fracture (odontogenic, other tumor) which can be done with good intraoral RADs. Awesome case. If I can help further let me know. Thanks for letting me give my opinion.
Regards, Douglas K. Winter, DVM, Dipl. AVDC


I recommend any diagnosis be confirmed histologically before attempting any further treatment or other. it would be unwise (and embarrassing) to euthanize an animal due to a radiographic diagnosis of neoplasia, and then find that histologically the lesion was an abscess.

 - by Mike Garner


I agree with Michael.
But even so, check the hay rack: if it has vertical bars, the anterior part of the head may get stuck between those bars. When the animal suddenly frightens, it can easily fracture the mandible or maxilla. I prefer a net or wire mesh to provide roughage to these animals.
Regards, Willem Schaftenaar DVM


The images appear similar to our 6y male retic, diagnosed by biopsy with an odontogenic mandibular tumor at 3y and stable to date without adverse local invasion or expansion.
- by Robert MacLean, DVM


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