By Staff

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The Dallas Zoo is continuing to work to figure out what led to the deaths of two giraffes in late October.

While awaiting some initial and secondary pathology reports and lab tests on food and vegetation in the giraffe habitat, the zoo said it has been able to rule out a few things at this point.

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In a Facebook post Tuesday, Nov. 9, the Dallas Zoo said:

▪️ We can say with certainty these deaths were not related to the COVID-19 vaccine. We are still on the waiting list to receive doses of the vaccine from Zoetis, so we have not begun to vaccinate any of our animals against COVID-19.

▪️ We have been able to eliminate encephalomyocarditis (EMC) as a cause of death but are still awaiting results on other zoonotic diseases.

The zoo said it has surveyed and is testing the vegetation in the habitat and feed yard.

As a precaution, the zoo removed a few trees and trimmed back the grazing and browsing spots in these areas.

“We are confident that we’ve eliminated possible risks that may have come from within the habitat and feel very confident in allowing animals back into these spaces,” the Dallas Zoo said in its Facebook post.

“We are talking to experts daily & relying on lab results to guide us toward a possible source that would cause the type of liver damage seen in the necropsy in both animals. We still believe exposure to a toxin is a potential connection given the abnormal liver enzymes, but we are exploring every possible cause – from bacteria, to parasite, to diseases.

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“We have been closely monitoring the giraffes & other hoofstock for any signs of symptoms & conducting regular blood draws to look at liver enzyme levels. We are happy to report we are not seeing signs of any ongoing issues. We wish we had more definitive answers to share with you, but know that we are working tirelessly to pinpoint exactly what happened and that we will keep you informed as we know more.”

Nineteen-year-old Auggie passed away after dealing with age-related health issues that led to liver failure, the zoo said at the time.

Auggie (credit: Dallas Zoo)

Jesse, 14, died after a less-than-week-long battle with symptoms, and a quick deterioration, that “closely mirrored” Auggie.

Jesse (Credit: Dallas Zoo)


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