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First CT scan on live adult rhino in South Africa

The Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary and the University of Pretoria’s (UP’s) Faculty of Veterinary Science in Onderstepoort, have conducted the first successful CT scan on a live adult rhino in South Africa.
This is a milestone in veterinary healthcare and diagnostic imaging, as well as rhino conservation.

Orphaned by poachers in 2015, white rhino Oz was rescued and brought to Care for Wild for rehabilitation, release and ongoing protection. Earlier this year, Rhino Monitors reported an unusual swelling to his face. Care for Wild Founder and CEO, Petronel Nieuwoudt consulted with veterinarian, Dr Albertus Coetzee of West Acres Animal Hospital.

Discussions were held with wildlife veterinarian Dr Jacques O’Dell, Senior lecturer and wildlife clinician in the Department of Production Animal Studies; and Professor Gerhard Steenkamp, veterinary dentistry specialist and maxillofacial surgeon at UP. With the support of Louis van Wyk of Wildlifevets.com, the decision was made to transport the one-tonne bull to the Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (OVAH) for further investigation.

The CT scan revealed a tooth root abscess and appropriate treatment was subsequently performed. Oz is now back at Care for Wild with his rhino crash and eating and drinking well.

The collaboration catalysed a landmark moment in veterinary healthcare as well as rhino care and rehabilitation. The logistical experience, information and knowledge gained from this is “phenomenal progress” in the fight to save a keystone species from extinction, said the vets.

“We cannot save a species alone but together we can achieve remarkable things. In acknowledgement of the team of specialists who came together, we thank them for their passion, dedication and immense commitment,” said Nieuwoudt.

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