Rolling Hills Zoo treated a patient of massive size, assisted by Dr. James Carpenter, professor of zoological medicine, and Dr. Warren Beard, professor of equine surgery, along with the team from the Veterinary Heath Center (VHC) at Kansas State University.
According to the zoo, a two-ton, 34-year-old, white rhinoceros named Milton, was immobilized so VHC specialists could biopsy a mass on the animal’s abdomen.
Upon the team’s arrival, Rolling Hills Zoo veterinarian, Dr. Danelle Okeson, administered anesthetics and, with the help of the large team of Rolling Hills Zoo and VHC personnel, the rhino was stabilized in a standing position that allowed the VHC team to perform the diagnostic procedure. The VHC team led the procedure to obtain samples of the mass, a well-vascularized, external growth larger than a human hand.
First, the mass was examined through an ultrasound to provide guidance through the rest of the procedure. Dr. Warren Beard then extracted samples of the mass to be examined for abnormalities. Within minutes of the completion of the procedure, the rhino was mobile, safely walking around his secured area.
“It was a combination of great planning and organizing by Dr. Okeson and the Rolling Hills Zoo team, terrific assistance in diagnostics by Dr. Beard and the equine team, and great collaboration by the students on the zoological medicine clinical rotation! Everything was done safely. Everything was accomplished that we had planned, and it was a great and memorable experience!” Dr. Carpenter said.
The preliminary diagnosis is the mass is an epidermal hyperplasia similar to a callous. The samples will be submitted to KSVDL for examination.
The white rhinoceros, native to Africa, is one of five species of rhinos, all endangered, and is actually closely related to the horse.