Houston Zoo's baby giraffe recovering after infection

Baby Yao expected to survive

HOUSTON - Houston Zoo officials said a baby giraffe named Yao is recovering after quite a health scare.

Baby Yao is headed in the right direction after contracting a joint infection, officials with the zoo said.

Veterinarians aren't sure why it happened, but Yao somehow contracted a blood infection that got even worse, leading to a bacterial infection called "Joint Ill."

At just two weeks old, Yao suddenly started limping. It was a potentially deadly situation.

"You've got to get the nasties out of the joints," said Joseph Flanagan, Director Of Veterinary Services. "You've got to flush them out and kill it off with a strong anti-bacteria. We put him on some strong antibiotics."

The zoo's veterinary team and zoo keepers have spent the past month treating the little guy.

"We talk about them like a lot of people talk about their kids and pets," said Kim Siegl, Senior Keeper Hoofstock. "You get a strong bond with all the animals especially when you do any amount of work like our physical therapy for Yao right now."

Yao is eating well and gaining weight. The last time he was weighed he was 90 kilos, which translates to approximately 198 pounds.

Zoo keepers said he's trying solid food and slices of various produce. He also nurses from his mom after every procedure.

The zoos' veterinary team and the giraffe keepers are continuing an aggressive course of therapy to defeat the infection and produce the best outcome for Yao.

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