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Gracie the oryx getting hoof trim

Gracie had lots of staff on-hand to help with her “manicure”!

When it comes to animal wellness, we are constantly looking for ways to keep improving by staying up to date with research and proven practices. One area that we are diving “hooves first” into is hoof-trimming.

Because animals in human care sometimes do not walk the distances required to sustain functional hooves, their hooves must be maintained by us in order to avoid overgrowth, arthritis, fractures and more.

Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP) farrier Steve Foxworth visited the Zoo last week to help our keepers and animal curators improve their hoof-trimming techniques. ZHTP is an organization dedicated to spreading awareness of the importance of hoofcare throughout zoological facilities to enable zoo staff to improve the comfort of the hoofstock in their care. Foxworth, who has visited the Zoo in the past for training, was accompanied by Rick Hester, animal behavior programs manager at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

During Foxworth’s two-day stay, he led hoof trims on scimitar-horned oryx Gracie; zebras Zonka, Lauren and Iggy; and our giraffe tower. Each of these sessions was very different; while most of these animals are trained to have voluntary hoof trims in their respective habitats, Gracie and Iggy were anesthetized.

During the sessions in which the animals were anesthetized, veterinary staff also conducted wellness exams to avoid having to immobilize the animals again.

We are proud to be one of the institutions at the forefront of hoofcare and are committed to continuing to improve our practices for the benefit of our animals.