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Beau the giraffe undergoes ultrasound

Zoo New England announced today that Beau the giraffe underwent a successful ultrasound and attempted liver biopsy on Wednesday afternoon. 


The 16-year-old Masai giraffe has been treated since early this month with antibiotics and anti-inflammatories for issues that appear to be related to his gallbladder or liver. Zoo New England’s veterinary staff determined that the ultrasound and liver biopsy were necessary to provide a more complete picture of Beau’s condition and progress of treatment. Despite several attempts, the veterinary team was unsuccessful in obtaining a liver biopsy. However, they were able to get a clear view of a portion of his liver during ultrasound examination, which looked normal. The staff also obtained another blood sample, which when compared to the earlier sample obtained in late July will provide valuable information as to his progress. 

“While we were not able to examine Beau’s entire liver, we are encouraged that we didn’t see anything concerning in the areas we could see. This does help to rule out several diseases that might be less treatable,” said Dr. Eric Baitchman, Zoo New England Director of Veterinary Services. “Given the ultrasound results and Beau’s clinical improvement since starting medical treatments, we are optimistic about his outlook, but cannot give a full prognosis until we receive the bloodwork results.” 

In addition to the zoo’s veterinary and animal management staffs, valuable assistance was also provided by Dr. Daniela Bedenice, a large animal medicine specialist, and Dr. Wade Tenney, a large animal ultrasonographer, both from the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. 

“While we are pleased that Beau’s ultrasound appears normal, there are still concerns surrounding his health,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “I’m extremely proud of the work that was done yesterday and it speaks volumes about the dedicated and professional staff that we are so fortunate to have here at the zoo.” 

Beau will remain off exhibit in the coming weeks, so that Zoo staff can closely monitor his progress. The normal daily opportunities to meet Beau from the Giraffe Terrace are temporarily cancelled while he is being treated.

Zoo New England has been an active participant in the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is a cooperative, inter-zoo program coordinated nationally through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. SSPs are designed to maintain genetically diverse and demographically stable captive populations of species. Beau’s mate Jana can be seen on exhibit on the Giraffe Savannah.