Abaxis Europe has supplied Gorilla Doctors with numerous pieces of important laboratory equipment over the last three years, such as iStat machines and VS2 chemistry analyzers. This month, Abaxis representative and long time friend of Gorilla Doctors Bärbel Köhler traveled to our Rwanda headquarters to instruct the veterinarians on Abaxis’ latest donation: a new VetScan HM5 Hematology Analyzer.

Bärbel Köhler, of Abaxis Europe, speaks to Gorilla Doctors about the hematology machine.

Abaxis first became a supporter in 2011, with the delivery of two iStat machines, followed by a second delivery in early 2012 with $30,000 worth of equipment and supplies including a brand new VS2 chemistry analyzer.  At both times, Gorilla Doctors were fortunate to have Bärbel accompany the shipments and teach the veterinarians how to use and maintain the equipment, with in-house demonstrations.  She even accompanied the vets to perform an ovariohysterectomy on a local domestic cat, one of the many ways the Gorilla Doctors offers capacity building for our in-country veterinarians.

To provide quality healthcare to this critically endangered species, the Gorilla Doctors need quality, efficient laboratory equipment. The wild gorillas are treated in the forest often under harsh terrain and weather; therefore, the need for sturdy, portable, easy-to-use diagnostic equipment that yields results quickly and predictably is paramount.  To this end, the equipment that has previously been donated by Abaxis, the iStat and VS2, are invaluable to the work being carried out by the Gorilla Doctors.  

Drs. Methode Bahizi (left) and Jean Bosco Noheli (right) use the new VS2 for biochemistry profiles on two newly confiscated infant gorillas, Isangi and Baraka.

The equipment has been extremely important for clinical cases. Such cases include a weak and emaciated elderly female in Bwindi National Park (Uganda); a young adult female with an enlarged tongue in Volcanoes National Park (Rwanda); two juvenile eastern lowland gorillas caught in wire snares in Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Republic of Congo), just to name a few. In addition to the confiscated orphans, the equipment has benefitted the critically endangered golden monkey population in Rwanda, and domestic animals throughout the country.

Bärbel Köhler of Abaxis Europe shows Dr. Methode and Dr. Mike the new hematology machine.

With increased funding in the future, the Gorilla Doctors hope to use the full potential of these machines in documenting baseline biochemistry values in wild mountain gorillas, and in researching prevalence of diseases.

Drs. Noel, Jean Felix, Methode, Bärbel Köhler and Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike in the Musanze lab.

The Gorilla Doctors would like to thank Abaxis, especially Achim Henkel (Managing Director, Abaxis Europe) and Barbel Kohler (Manager of Business Development, Abaxis Europe).

About Abaxis:

Abaxis’ mission is to supply point of care blood analyzers to the medical market and the veterinarian market. Providing leading edge technology, tools and services that support best medical practices, Abaxis enables physicians and veterinarians to respond to the health needs of their clients while operating economical and profitable practices. Abaxis is headquartered in northern California, USA, and contains operations around the world. www.abaxis.com

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