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Baby giraffe Dobby gets plasma transfusion over health concerns

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Posted at 6:02 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 20:02:54-05

DENVER – Baby giraffe Dobby is being monitored closely by both Denver and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo officials after tests showed a lack of infection-fighting proteins in the calf.

Dobby, who was born Tuesday at the Denver Zoo, wasn’t able to receive enough of those proteins from his mother after he began nursing, officials said Thursday.

“This morning, staff provided Dobby a transfusion of plasma to restore his antibody levels to normal,” Zoo officials said in a news release.

Zookeepers, along with veterinarians, are trying to boost his immune system following bloodwork on Wednesday that caused concern.

“We remain optimistic that Dobby’s health will improve. However, we are taking his condition seriously,” said Denver Zoo associate veterinarian Betsy Stringer. “We have also provided Dobby with antibiotics to treat infection in his system and are monitoring his blood daily.”

Five-foot-tall Dobby, a male reticulated giraffe, was born at 3 a.m. to mother Kipele.

Zoo staff said they didn’t know until recently that Kipele was pregnant, though they had their suspicions. Zookeepers were able to confirm the pregnancy via ultrasound and predicted a due date in late February or early March.

Dobby’s birth brings the total number of giraffes at the Denver Zoo to five.

Kipele was born at the Denver Zoo in 1993 and is currently the zoo’s oldest giraffe. Dobby’s father, Dikembe, was born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs in 1993 and moved to Denver in 1996.

The Denver Zoo has been caring for giraffes since 1973 and since then, more than 70 giraffes have been born and raised at the zoo. Dobby is the zoo’s first birth since October 2010.

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