The process is risky to the animal. It is an invasive procedure, and as with any situation involving immobilization and anesthetic, there is always a risk of complication. The process removes 90 to 93 percent of the horn, and needs to be repeated every 12 to 24 months.
It is also quite costly. Per Save the Rhino, current published estimates for de-horning range from $620 USD (at Kruger National Park) per animal to $1,000 (on private land).
Sadly with such a phenomenal price tag on the horn, that seven to 10 percent remaining still makes them a target for poachers. Sometimes this is unintentional; in the darkness, poachers may not realize the rhino is de-horned until they have killed it.
So when considering this as an option, the risks need to be weighed. Is the rhino in a high-target poaching area? Are there enough security and monitoring to back up the procedure?
The more recent method, developed by the Rhino Rescue project has been to make the horn less desirable by injecting it with a toxin.
Ectoparasiticides are used in conjunction with a dye. The ectoparasiticides are safe for animals, but not consumable to humans. If ingested, they cause digestive issues. Once poached, it is this pinkish dye that conveys to users it is a tainted horn.