Baby giraffe dies at Houston Zoo

Baby Yao lived for 7 weeks

Headline Goes Here Houston Zoo

HOUSTON - A baby giraffe at the Houston Zoo has died after suffering a bone infection.

Yao, a Masai giraffe, was just seven weeks old when he died.

Yao was born on Feb. 25. A week later, veterinarians noticed that Yao was favoring his left rear leg. The limp became worse, so his leg was X-rayed and there wasn't any evidence of bone damage. He was placed on antibiotics and other medications, including anti-inflammatory analgesics.

A short time later, Yao was limping on his right front leg. It was then determined that he has a bone infection in his right shoulder and he went through an aggressive course of treatment that included medication, surgery and physical therapy.

On Friday morning, Yao was sedated while hospital staff at the zoo X-rayed his right shoulder and left hip.

"The X-rays indicated Yao's right shoulder had stabilized," said Dr. Wyatt Winchell, an equine orthopedic specialist who had been treating Yao. "However, the images also indicated degenerative joint disease and cartilage loss around the area of the hip joint, a secondary effect of the original bacterial infection which had shown indications of being resolved."

Officials said they determined that the degenerative joint disease and cartilage loss would reduce Yao's quality of life, so he was euthanized.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.