Oklahoma City Zoo
4:34 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

UPDATE: Young OKC Giraffe Dies During Risky Surgery

Zoo officials hope Kyah will be returned to her mother at the zoo soon after the surgery, and say she could be back on her feet within two weeks.
Credit Jaimee Flinchbaugh / Oklahoma City Zoo

A 6-month-old female giraffe at the Oklahoma City Zoo died Tuesday during surgery to correct a terminal birth defect that affected her ability to eat.

Zoo spokeswoman Tara Henson confirmed the death to The Oklahoman's Matt Patterson:

Kyah was euthanized during surgery when it became clear the complications encountered would be too much to overcome.

The hours-long operation was considered a long shot, but zoo officials and a team of veterinarians from Oklahoma State University determined it was her only chance to survive.

Veterinarians say Kyah's esophagus was restricted and she could not digest most solid foods. The zoo's associate veterinarian, Dr. Gretchen Cole, says the giraffe had chance of survival without the surgery.

Cole says she believes Kyah was the first giraffe to undergo a procedure of this nature.

Kyah's surgery took place Tuesday at Oklahoma State University's Center for Veterinary Health Sciences.

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