BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The condition of a sickly giraffe calf at the Maryland Zoo has changed from critical to dire, officials say.
Julius’s June 15 birth brought joy to the zoo staff, but it didn’t last long. He’s been fighting for his life since the beginning.
“He has had peaks and valleys throughout his treatment as many critical patients will,” says Samantha Sander, Maryland Zoo veterinarian.
He had trouble nursing, which made it difficult for him to gain weight or develop antibodies.
“Antibodies, so just like for you or me are going to help prevent disease and be strong. It’s also where he gets some of the proteins he needs in his blood,” says Sander.
Last weekend, the zoo reported that he had to have two blood plasma transfusions, and was receiving 24-hour intensive care.
On Friday afternoon, zoo officials updated their blog to reflect more bad news.
“Overnight, Julius did not feed well,” it says. “Then, in the early hours of this morning, his already fragile health suddenly worsened. Quick action by the veterinary and animal care teams has given Julius the only slim chance of making it through the day he may get.”
Julius is receiving a life supporting solution called total parenteral nutrition through an IV thanks to the development and donation of solutions from Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.
However, the zoo says, “the outlook is dim.”
Visitors at the zoo were sad to hear the news, but are pulling for him to get better.
“We’re hoping he perks up. Take that bottle Julius!” says one zoo visitor.
“I hope the baby gets better,” says another woman.
Zoo officials say their goal is to keep Julius stable enough so that they’re still able to feed him.
However, they say as a last resort, euthanasia is a possibility.