Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary
and the University of Pretoria's Faculty of Veterinary Science in Onderstepoort, are celebrating a milestone in veterinary healthcare and diagnostic imaging as well as rhino conservation, after the first ever successful CT scan on a live rhino in South Africa.
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.
After discussions with wildlife veterinarian Dr Jacques O’Dell and Prof Gerhard Steenkamp, veterinary dentistry specialist and maxillofacial surgeon at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, and with the support of Louis van Wyk of Wildlifevets.com
, the decision was made to transport the one ton bull to the Faculty’s Onderstepoort Veterinary Academic Hospital (OVAH) for further investigation.
The collaboration catalysed a landmark moment in veterinary healthcare as well as rhino care and rehabilitation with the first ever CT scan on a live adult rhino in South Africa. The logistical experience, information and knowledge gained from this is phenomenal progress in the fight to save a keystone species from extinction.
The CT scan revealed a tooth root abscess and appropriate treatment was performed by Prof Gerhard Steenkamp. Oz is back at the Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary and is eating and drinking well. “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 Ms Nieuwoudt.
Commenting on the milestone, Director of the OVAH, Dr Paul van Dam said that being involved in the "first" of all types of cases remains exciting. "It proves that the OVAH remains at the forefront of rendering comprehensive veterinary services to all animals", he said.