of the SAVA
is able to get the profile near perfect, even without
the use of the angle-grinder (Figure 7). This is of
value especially in those instances where the ground
team and generator cannot gain access to the rhino.
In these cases a battery powered angle-grinder is
an option. Areas of the germinal layer that has been
damaged by the chainsaw and is bleeding excessively
can be cauterized with the angle-grinder fitted with a
steel grinding disc (Figure 2).
Figure 4: Removed horn with central cavitation due to heat
necrosis. This rhino was dehorned 2 years prior and this is most
likely when the germinal layer was damaged by using a blunt and
overheated blade. Only once dehorned the cavity was noticed
There is no doubt that chainsaws are dangerous tools,
both to the operator and the rhino, thus caution must
be taken when using them. As with other veterinary
equipment, the veterinarian must practice how to
use a chainsaw. In order to reduce the risk to both
the operator and the rhino a protective shield can be
placed over the head of the rhino (Figure 8).
Figure 5: All excess horn and sharp edges are removed with
the angle-grinder fitted with a tungsten hoof disc.
Figure 7: With practice one is able to achieve a low profile dehorning
even without using an angle-grinder. This white rhino bull went
down in terrain inaccesible to the vehicle carrying the generator.
This prevents the chainsaw blade from grabbing the
blindfold, a huge risk to the operator, and protects the
rhino’s eyes from hot chainsaw smoke. It also aids in
getting that low profile look by being able to work the
blade close to the base of the horns, without injuring
Figure 6: The end result must be smooth flowing profile as with
this rostral horn. Mild damage to the peripheral germinal layer is
usually uneventful. The caudal horn still needs some grinding down.
The biggest advantage in using a chainsaw above all
the other tools is the speed at which the dehorning
can be carried out, and as we know, the biggest risk
to dehorning rhino is the actual immobilization.
Keeping the immobilization short reduces the risk of
complication and mortalities.