Brevard Zoo Constantly Looks for Ways to Keep Animal’s Hooves Healthy

By  //  December 27, 2019

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Brevard Zoo is proud to be one of the institutions at the forefront of hoof care

Gracie had lots of staff on-hand to help with her “manicure.” (Brevard Zoo image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – When it comes to animal wellness, Brevard Zoo is constantly looking for ways to keep improving by staying up to date with research and proven practices. One area that they 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 hoof care 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.

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

Brevard Zoo is proud to be one of the institutions at the forefront of hoof care and is committed to continuing to improve its practices for the benefit of the animals.

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