Successful Management of Acute-onset Torticollis in a Giraffe

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   J Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 2013 (Mar); 44 (1): 181-5

Liza I. Dadone, V.M.D., Kevin K. Haussler, D.V.M., D.C., Ph.D., Dipl. A.C.V.S.M.R., Greg Brown, D.V.M., Melanie Marsden, D.V.M., James Gaynor, D.V.M., Dipl. A.C.V.A., Dipl. A.A.P.M, Matthew S. Johnston, V.M.D., Dipl. A.B.V.P. (Avian), DellaGarelle, D.V.M.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo,
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906, USA

A 2-yr-old male reticulated giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) presented with severe midcervical segmental torticollis upon arrival as an incoming shipment. Despite initial medical management, the giraffe developed marked neck sensitivity, focal muscle spasms, and decreased cervical range of motion. Using operant conditioning to assist patient positioning and tolerance to cervical manipulation, a series of manually applied chiropractic treatments were applied to the affected cervical vertebrae in an effort to restore normal cervical mobility.

Laser therapy and cervical range of motion exercises were also used to reduce cervical muscle hypertonicity. The combined application of these nontraditional therapies produced marked clinical improvement. This case highlights the potential benefits of combining traditional medical management with chiropractic treatment and physical therapy techniques for management of severe acute-onset torticollis in a giraffe.