Congenital and Neoplastic Cranial Deformities in Wild Giraffe (Giraffa spp.)

J Wildl Dis. 2023 Jul 1;59(3):472-478. doi: 10.7589/JWD-D-22-00102.


Congenital deformities and neoplasia are poorly documented in wildlife, owing to the difficulty of detection in wild populations. Congenital deformities may lead to premature mortality, thus reducing the chances of thorough documentation. Importantly, neoplasia diagnoses depend on either sampling suspicious lesions from living individuals or access to fresh, undisturbed carcasses, which can prove challenging. We describe five cases of suspected congenital cranial deformities (midfacial cleft, wry nose, and brachygnathia inferior) and two possible cases of cranial neoplasia (orbital bone mass and a soft tissue mass) opportunistically observed in wild giraffe (Giraffa spp.) across their range in Africa. Although cases are largely limited to subjective description because physical examination is often not possible, it is critical to document such observations to help identify and track potential health concerns in wild giraffe populations.

Keywords: Giraffa; Congenital cranial malformation; giraffe; neoplasia; wild.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Wild
  • Giraffes*
  • Neoplasms* / veterinary
  • Ruminants
  • Skull