Msituni Runs With The Giraffe Herd After Custom Brace Fixes Her Front Leg

When Msituni the giraffe was born on Feb. 1st at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park with her front limb bending the wrong way, endangering her survival, the park turned to orthotics experts at the Hanger Clinic for help. But fitting a brace on a patient who was already 5-foot-10-inch (178-centimeter) needed experimentation and ingenuity. Senior veterinarian Matt Kinney tried adapting human braces while Hanger worked on custom braces. It took eight days to make carbon graphite braces that featured the animal’s pattern of crooked spots. “We do this with kids all the time," says Ara Mirzaian. "They get to pick super-heroes, or their favorite team and we imprint it on their bracing. So why not do it with a giraffe?” After 10 days in the brace, the problem was corrected and after 39 days in the animal hospital, she was introduced to the herd. While her mom never took her back, another female has adopted her, and she now runs with the herd.