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Jul 24, 2008

Tooth extraction in a Southern White Rhino

Tooth extraction in a Southern White Rhino (Ceratotherium simum simum) from ZSL - Whipsnade Zoo

Removing a tooth from a 26 year old rhino

Dental ailments can pose a serious threat to the health and welfare of zoo animals.

A 26 year old female rhino was found to have a submandibular abscess. The wound healed but a sinus tract continued to discharge pus and did not respond to drug intervention. The infected tooth had to be surgically removed., carried out by vet staff and in conjunction with the RCV.

The tooth removal had to be carried out through an incision in the cheek. A new technique to maintain anaesthesia was accomplished by using naso-tracheal intubation which allowed access to the mouth. Satisfactory anaesthesia for prolonged procedures in rhinos is problematic as severe respiratory depression is a common side effect.

This technique provided inhalation anaesthesia allowing a more controlled anaesthesia and reduced side-effects. The female is now eating well and interaction normally. It is believed to be the first procedure of its kind in a white rhino.

Developed by:  ZSL - Whipsnade Zoo

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