UPDATE @ 12:45 p.m. (Oct.31):
Henry the hippo, the father of Fiona was euthanized this morning, according to a media release from the Cincinnati Zoo.
Henry had been struggling for several months with health issues and had lost hundreds of pounds, a zoo spokesperson said in the release.
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“According to the vet staff who had been carefully monitoring him, he took an obvious downward turn in the past few days, and was weak and unsteady. After an exam [Tuesday morning], they determine that Henry’s quality of life would not improve, and made the difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.”
We will continue to follow this story and bring you more information as it becomes available.
FIRST REPORT (Oct. 30):
An Nile adult hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo is said to be fighting for his life two weeks after caretakers discovered an infection in his blood.
The hippo named Henry is the father of Fiona, which has received much fanfare in recent months.
“The median life expectancy for male Nile hippos is 35,” according to a Cincinnat Zoo blog post. “At 36 years old, our sweet Henry hippo is already in his golden years, and despite our best efforts, his health and quality of life continue to decrease each day. We’re doing everything we can to keep him comfortable.”
In mid-July caretakers first noticed that the 3,600 pound hippo wasn’t and he had diarrhea, and he eventually started to lose weight.
In mid-October Zoo officials did a thorough exam on Henry, and determined that his “white blood cell count revealed that his body was fighting a very serious infection internally.”
In addition, his kidneys appeared to be shutting down, and the caretakers began an aggressive treatment plan. The treatment was focused on getting antibiotics into Henry to help his body fight the infection in hopes that his kidneys would recover and heal, according to the blog post.
“About a week and half later, Henry’s appetite and lethargy had still not improved, despite our best efforts to treat him, so we collected blood again to reassess Henry’s health,” according to the zoo’s blog post. “This time, our team was shocked but thrilled to see that almost all of Henry’s blood values were within normal ranges. It was encouraging information, but it did not explain why Henry’s behavioral health continued to deteriorate.”
Since then, the zoo’s staff have continued working around the clock to treat the hippo, but he doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment.