Baby giraffe with legs bent the wrong way fitted with new braces

  • Msituni the giraffe was born with her legs bent the wrong way.
  • If not treated, the 5ft 10in-tall giraffe would likely die.
  • The staff at San Diego Zoo Safari Park had a personalized brace made for Msituni.

Msituni had trouble standing before her front legs were equipped with special orthotic braces.

Staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park were concerned that the newborn, who stood 5ft 10in tall, would die if she did not receive treatment.

To construct a personalized brace for Msituni, they contacted orthotic experts at the Hanger Clinic, which specializes in human orthotics and prosthetics.

Ara Mirzaian, who has spent the last 30 years fitting braces for Paralympians and children with scoliosis, was treating an animal patient for the first time.

When the clinician first heard about Msituni, he described it as “pretty surreal.”


‘It was the coolest thing to see an animal like that walk in a brace,’ he said. ‘It feels good to know we saved a giraffe’s life.’

The carbon graphite braces were created using cast moulds of the giraffe’s legs, which incorporated the animal’s characteristic pattern of misaligned spots to match her fur. 

‘The hyperextension, the joint going the wrong way, was the big concern with her,’ explained Matt Kinney, San Diego Zoo Safari Park’s senior veterinarian.


He also said that they initially stabilized that joint with casts until they could buy some braces, which were basically off-the-shelf braces. However, when they applied it the next day, they realized they weren’t strong enough so they decided to have a custom carbon graphite brace made just for Msituni. 

Source: Metro

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