Indianapolis Zoo Rhino Gets Help from PVM Specialists

When the Indianapolis Zoo needed assistance with a 30 year-old-female rhino that had a suspected tooth problem, the Large Animal Hospital at the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine got the call.  Dr. Jan Hawkins, Purdue Veterinary Medicine professor of large animal surgery, said the rhino had experienced weight loss and was dropping food from its mouth.  He headed down to the zoo accompanied by Dr. Sarah Waxman, visiting clinical assistant professor of large animal surgery, Dr. Caroline Gillespie, a large animal surgery resident, and Dr. Tomo Inoue, clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology.

The rhino, named Gloria was anesthetized so an oral exam could be conducted.  The exam revealed that Gloria had a loose mandibular tooth on the left side. About the size of a golf ball, the tooth was removed and the remaining teeth were floated (filed).  The rhino recovered from anesthesia uneventfully.  Dr. Jeffry Proudfoot, the Zoo’s vice president of veterinary sciences, reported after the extraction that Gloria was doing well and was eating hay and grain.  A story about Gloria and her tooth extraction aired on Indianapolis TV station WTHR.  Dr. Hawkins told the TV station, “It was very difficult to get her mouth apart, so they bought a hydraulic jack pump to separate her teeth so we could look in her mouth." The station also talked to Dr. Proudfoot, who told them, “It does take a lot of individuals to perform what seems like a somewhat routine procedure; it's not so routine with a rhino."

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