Save the Rhinos
I just wanted to inform you about a clinical case that we had the other day, that you might want to use for your website, like we discussed at the start:
Recently, we were presented with an 18-year-old, captive, White rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). The rhino was inappetent, lethargic and losing body condition score quickly. After blood examination, we noticed that the animal was suffering from possible renal failure with a severe hyperkalemia. Further diagnostic testing and treatment required immobilisation, however, because of the hyperkalemia there was a high anaesthetic risk. Taking this in consideration, a low opioid dose was administered in combination with a low dose of ketamine, after which the rhino became recumbent. For monitoring the anaesthesia, the Televet 100 was used. Four electrodes were placed on the rhino, according to the technique from Prof. Gunter van Loon (ECG in horses: technique and interpretation). The Televet was then connected to an Apple device for monitoring the electrocardiogram and heart rate. As this rhinoceros was prone to arrhythmias, due to the hyperkalemia, the Televet allowed the treating veterinarians to monitor the animal closely and be aware of any possible cardiac irregularities. Several diagnostic tests were performed, after which the animal was treated with fluids and antibiotics. During the immobilisation the heart rate remained regular, no bradycardia was seen and no clear ECG changes were noticeable. After treatment the reversal drugs were administered and the rhinoceros had an uneventful recovery.
Hyperkalemia can cause peaked T-waves, widening and flattening of P-waves, PR interval lengthening and widening of the QRS complex. However, as we do not know the normal measurements and intervals of these majestic animals, currently a new study is being conducted using the Televet. This study will allow us to assess the normal electrocardiogram of white rhinoceroses in captivity. Additionally, the Televet allows us to monitor (endangered) wildlife species during anaesthesia in the field; something that was previously impossible. Using the device we hope to be able to decrease the amount of morbidities and mortalities seen during immobilisation of valuable species.