Zebra euthanized at Oklahoma City Zoo

A zebra with chronic foot problems has been euthanized at the Oklahoma City Zoo. Zephra was treated by specialists from across the state for an abscess in her hoof, but veterinarians had to euthanize the zebra.
BY CARRIE COPPERNOLL ccoppernoll@opubco.com Published: November 29, 2011
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A zebra that was treated for hoof trouble for more than three months was euthanized Wednesday after Oklahoma City Zoo staff members decided her infection could not be cured.

Zephra, 19, was euthanized the day before Thanksgiving after a painful infection immobilized the half-ton animal, said Jennifer D'Agostino, director of veterinarian services at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Zephra was diagnosed in August with laminitis, a general inflammation in the hoof. It can be triggered by a variety of things, such as heat or a virus, though zoo officials aren't sure what caused Zephra's case, D'Agostino said. The zebra was given a horseshoe, which temporarily relieved the pressure.

But Zephra began to limp again, and a more extensive exam revealed a painful abscess. She was immobilized several times so experts from throughout the state could help treat her. Because Grevy's zebras are wild and aggressive, Zephra had to be anesthetized for each treatment.

Despite treatment, her pain and the infection wouldn't go away, D'Agostino said. The tip of the bone inside her hoof was dying. The only solution was surgery.

Henry Jann, an equine surgeon from Oklahoma State University, performed the surgery Nov. 10. They bored a hole into the bottom of her hoof, removed the dead bone, packed it with antibiotics and wrapped it in a hard cast.

Zephra showed a lot of promise for the next week, D'Agostino said.

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