April the Giraffe, who became an internet sensation during pregnancy, dies

April the Giraffe (Animal Adventure Park)

April the Giraffe, who became a viral sensation as the world watched her labor and delivery in 2017, has died, according to Animal Adventure Park.

The famous giraffe was euthanized in Harpursville Friday morning due to her worsening arthritis, according to the park, which was recommended by the animal’s veterinary team.

Four years ago, April the Giraffe grabbed the hearts of millions as people across the world watched her give birth via a Youtube live stream.

Park officials said after the euthanasia, her body was escorted to the Cornell University Veterinary School by the Patch family, where a necropsy will be completed. Officials said she will then be cremated and her ashes will be returned to Animal Adventure Park.

A statement from Animal Adventure Park’s veterinary team was released:

“Beginning in the summer of 2020, the staff at Animal Adventure Park began reporting changes in April’s mobility. The park’s veterinarians radiographed April’s feet in July 2020 and noted the onset of osteoarthritis. The radiographs showed a loss of joint space and subchondral bone collapse in her left hind leg, which can be expected in a giraffe of her age. In addition to the joint supplements, the park began multi-modal management of osteoarthritis including measures such as pain medications, anti-inflammatories, hoof trimming, installation of padded flooring, and dietary changes in hopes of slowing down the progression of her condition. During each visit by the park’s veterinarians, we assessed and discussed April’s quality of life, which has remained a top priority while managing her condition. Unfortunately, over time, what we saw was April increasingly shifting her weight from limb to limb, a continual decline in mobility, and spending a lot more time laying recumbent. The most recent set of radiographs taken in early March to evaluate her condition showed significant and progressing degeneration of the joints in her lower leg. The severity of her condition has been outpacing our ability to control April’s comfort. The March 2021 observation reported advanced osteoarthritis, interphalangeal subluxation in the left rear hoof, and lameness and angular joint abnormalities in all feet.

“Relating these arthritic changes to personal pets (dogs, cats, horse) and even humans, can help us better understand and relate to the condition. Lameness and arthritis are amplified in animals as large as giraffes. While a small dog can compensate, large species, like giraffes, can deteriorate quickly. Despite Animal Adventure Park’s multi-faceted approach to mitigate April’s condition, it is irreversible and advancing at a rapid rate. As hard of a decision as it is, for a veterinary team and facility, it is decided that euthanasia is the most humane decision to make at this time.”

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