Jesse, a 23-year-old giraffe at the Topeka Zoo, is experiencing health issues suggesting his long life may be coming to an end, Topeka city officials said Wednesday.

Jesse, who is one of the oldest male giraffes currently living among zoo populations, is experiencing front hoof problems, as well as some muscle atrophy in his neck and arthritis in his rear legs that makes it hard for him to lie down and get back up.

The zoo’s animal care experts have consulted with a large-animal radiologist and a farrier — a specialist in equine hoof care — about a condition known as laminitis, a disease that affects the feet of hooved animals. After being treated with antibiotics and pain medication, Jesse’s hooves show no evidence of active infection, local officials said, allowing zoo staff to focus on reshaping his front hooves to help him manage the condition.

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