Behind the Scenes banner
applying glue

Glue is applied to one of the shoes prior to attachment.

Grévy’s zebra Iggy has had quite the week! Fortunately, she seems to be on the road to recovery thanks to swift, innovative treatment.

In late November, Iggy began exhibiting a severe limp, indicating an issue with her right front leg. She was anesthetized for a diagnostic exam and given a hoof trim. Radiographs were shared with Steve Foxworth, a hoof expert from the Zoo Hoofstock Trim Program (ZHTP), who concluded Iggy was most likely suffering from a torn ligament and bone inflammation; we believe these issues stem from earlier years of Iggy’s life when she did not receive frequent hoof trims.

Steve suggested we give Iggy custom polyurethane “shoes” to alleviate the pressure on this hoof (one for the injured hoof and another for the left front hoof to keep her balanced), giving the injuries a better chance to heal. She was anesthetized again so we could take measurements of the hoof, even out the sole and wall of the hoof, and capture additional radiographs. Her limp began to improve two days after this procedure.

The measurements were sent to Steve, who quickly built the shoes and mailed them to us all the way from Colorado. Iggy was anesthetized once more on Friday for the shoeing process.

General curator Lauren Hinson—who (in addition to acting as “mom” to Brody, Lorenzo and Lilly) has become our resident farrier after attending a ZHTP-led workshop last year—began by cleaning and debriding Iggy’s front hooves, providing smooth, flat surfaces for shoe attachment. Lauren then coated the hooves with specialized putty and glued on the shoes. Iggy was standing and walking just minutes after the procedure ended.


sealing shoe

Lauren seals the edges of a shoe.

For now, Iggy is staying in a stall behind the scenes with fellow zebra Zonka. Once we see more improvement from Iggy, we will shift both zebras back onto public view. The shoes should stay on for a couple of months before falling off on their own, at which point they will hopefully no longer be needed.

Hoof care has become a major animal wellness focus at the Zoo over the past three years. ZHTP has visited several times to provide keeper training, and all of our zebras and giraffe have been trained to participate in regular, voluntary trimming sessions. Lauren has also assisted ZHTP with several giraffe trims at other Florida animal care facilities.

Iggy’s recent procedures have cost us about $1,500 between materials and labor. If you’d like to help cover these expenses during this challenging time, click here to learn how you can support the Zoo.