A field x-ray machine is helping to save rhino with life-threatening poaching injuries, thanks to funds raised in the UK.

Diagnostic support for rhinos orphaned by poaching

During a UK tour, campaigning vet William Fowlds, the Wilderness Foundation Medivet project coordinator, spoke about the latest reconstructive surgery techniques on rhino in South Africa to supporters of the Medivet Saving the Rhino campaign (#MedivetRhino), who helped pay for the diagnostic tool.

Poor knowledge of rhino anatomy has hampered our attempts at surgery,” said Gerhard Steenkamp, a vet working under the umbrella of the organisation Saving the Survivors. “My colleague Johan Marais and I are busy with an anatomical charting of the rhino skull using computer tomography (CT). This new understanding, combined with field x-rays of injuries, is allowing us to save more rhino, which can then return to the wild for breeding,” added Dr Steenkamp.

Wounds are debrided and a layer of calcium alginate rope applied to exposed tissue, followed by antibacterial-impregnated absorbent sponges that keep the area moist and conducive to granulation, while allowing it to drain. The wound is then covered with casting material and a metal plate screwed in place, to prevent damage during healing.

For more information, visit the news section of the Medivet website.

The Saving the Survivors Facebook page provides updates on Hope, the rhino currently being treated by the team.

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