By Amy Yensi

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s a race against the clock for veterinarians at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, who are trying to save the newest member of their giraffe family.

Three-week-old Julius is not doing too well, and his story is touching hearts around the country.

The entire hospital staff at the zoo is keeping a close watch on the calf, trying every type of treatment they can.

Julius’s June 15 birth, especially since he was the first male giraffe calf born at the Maryland Zoo in decades, brought joy to the staff, but it didn’t last long.

He’s been fighting for his life since the beginning.

Nursing him has been nearly impossible. He couldn’t latch on to his mother, or take a bottle. He’s not getting antibodies to prevent disease, and veterinarians are discovering signs of infection.

“He has had peaks and valleys throughout his treatment as many critical patients will, but the newest step in the last couple days has definitely been in the negative direction,” says Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian.

He’s now in 24-hour intensive care, and has had two blood plasma transfusions, from a giraffe at the Columbus Zoo in Ohio and one at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

But now it’s a waiting game.

Handlers are weighing all options for Julius, including euthanasia.

“There is certainly that possibility, but it is not one that we’re looking forward to,” Sander says. “We’re still working with him to not have to come to that conclusion.”

The vet says if Julius can’t get on the bottle soon, his health will decline even further. A change will need to happen in the next few days for him to survive.

For more information about Julius, visit MarylandZoo.org.

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