An equine therapy unit has been helping a 13-year-old giraffe keep up with his herd.

Behansin, the alpha male of the species at Yorkshire Wildlife Park, started to develop shoulder problems some two years ago.

The issues, which it is believed were related to his age and arthritis, meant Behansin needed monthly physio sessions to “relieve the pain and allow him to lead a happy, active life”.

The zoo’s team contacted Niagara Healthcare, which makes the Equissage therapy system, and Behansin started benefiting from regular treatment with the Equissage Pulse unit, which aims to increase blood flow and support mobility of the joints.

“Physio problems are fairly common in older giraffes, and in animals that can weigh up to a tonne, there is a lot of weight on their frame,” said a spokesman for Equissage. “Behansin was soon able to take easier and longer strides, and retain his dominance within the herd.”

Equissage was “delighted” to see, when Channel 5’s Big Week at the Zoo featured the wildlife park in the episode that aired on 21 August, that the Equissage Pulse unit was still in use, and “still making a huge contribution to keeping Behansin on top form”.

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“We are of course extremely pleased to be able to contribute to Behansin being able to maintain a happy and pain-free life,” said UK national sales manager Victoria Archer.

“It is a great testament to the Equissage Pulse that his shoulder pain has been kept at bay over the last two years with the help of regular cyclo massage therapy, and that he is still active and leader of his group.”

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