Common Injuries and Treatments

Skin: Skin lacerations are relatively common occurrences and unless deep and/or badly apposed, they normally heal well without significant medical intervention. As noted above it is difficult to differentiate abrasions over points of wear from early skin ulcers. They should be closely monitored.

Picture of a partial horn avulsion.

Partial horn avulsion.

Horn: Horn avulsions occur with some frequency. The use of horizontal bars under which rhinos can hook their horns should be avoided. There can be notable haemorrhages from the base of the horn, but these usually stop with little or no intervention. Treatment is generally limited to the topical application of antibiotics and non-toxic fly repellents.

Skin conditions: skin conditions have been noted in Black rhinos. A syndrome of oral and skin ulcers of unknown etiology had been frequently noted in captive Black rhinos. Fractured or avulsed horns are a frequent entity. Treatment generally consists of topical antibiotics and non-toxic fly repellents, and the haemorrhage generally stops over a period of several hours. Abscesses at the coronary have been reported and responded to the application of hot water and topical treatment. In one case, when rhinos were housed in an enclosure with no ‘mud bath’ dry skin spots developed, these were treated by routinely applying baby oil.

Foot problems: the feet of a rhino should be carefully monitored. When enclosures are not cleaned properly urine and faeces remains can cause problems between the nails and the sole. Deep cracks may occur between the sole and the central nail. These cracks can take a long time to heal and could cause paralysis in the foot. In severe cases the sole could rib.

There was no specific information found about the euthanasia of Black rhinos. For more information about diseases and medical procedures we refer to Göltenboth and Klös (1995) and Fowler and Miller (2003).

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