Although Salmonella spp. infection has been identified in captive and free-ranging rhinoceros, clinical cases in black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) calves have not been described. This case series describes clinical salmonellosis in four black rhinoceros calves. Two calves developed self-limiting diarrhea, recovering after treatment. The other two cases were fatal. One of the fatal cases had a short clinical course, whereas the other case was protracted, with signs reflecting multiple organ system involvement. In all cases, diagnosis was by fecal culture and/or quantitative polymerase chain reaction. A variable clinical presentation, which is typical for salmonellosis in domestic hoofstock, was a feature of these rhinoceros cases. Similarly, postmortem pathology in black rhinoceros calves was consistent with domestic neonatal ungulates with salmonellosis. Potential predisposing factors for infection were considered to be primiparity of the dam and failure of passive transfer in the calf. The case investigation included attempts to identify the source of infection, which was aided by organism serotyping. In one case, the patient's dam and another conspecific in the facility were shown to be asymptomatic shedders of the organism strain responsible for disease in the calf. Further surveillance of captive rhinoceros Salmonella spp. carrier status is needed to inform screening recommendations for this taxa.
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