In early March, veterinary ophthalmologists Drs. David Ramsey and Rick Quinn traveled to Rwanda to conduct a training workshop with the Gorilla Doctors. Dr. Ramsey owns and operates The Animal Ophthalmology Center in Williamston, Michigan, and Dr. Quinn practices at the Veterinary Eye Specialists of London, Ontario, and is an adjunct professor of ophthalmology at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Ramsey recounts his experience with MGVP below.

Dr. Quinn lectures the Gorilla Doctors about common eye problems.“I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful this experience was for us.  Rick and I have lectured to veterinarians and veterinary students on many occasions in the U.S. and abroad to provide continuing education.  We had been talking about traveling to Rwanda for about two years.  When Rick discovered the MGVP on an Internet search he immediately decided to go and we began talking more seriously about this endeavor.  As specialists in veterinary ophthalmology, we feel an obligation to pass forward our knowledge and experiences by teaching to improve the knowledge and abilities of other veterinarians and students.  We felt that if we could contribute our time and talents to improve the knowledge and expertise in ophthalmology of the MGVP veterinarians, we wanted to do so.  

I contacted Welch Allyn (a manufacturer of medical equipment) and inquired about donations of ophthalmic examination equipment for the MGVP veterinarians. I was elated that Welch Allyn generously provided the necessary equipment.

Dr. Noel practices using the donated ophthalmological equipment on Biza the dog.

When we arrived in Rwanda, the MGVP staff warmly welcomed us and we immediately became good friends with all the MGVP veterinarians–we forged relationships that will last forever.  They were very enthusiastic and interested in learning veterinary ophthalmology–it was an exceptional experience that I will never forget. We gave two full days of lecture about topics in ophthalmology that would be relevant to their work at the MGVP.  We then conducted a wet laboratory to train the MGVP veterinarians to use the equipment donated by Welch Allyn.   

Dr. Mike had suggested that we also contact the Makerere University School of Veterinary Medicine in Uganda to lecture to the veterinary students.  We were fortunate to give a half-day of lectures to the 4th and some 5th year veterinary students at Makerere. 

Dr. Fred tries out the donated ophthalmological equipment.The warm welcome and genuine hospitality shown to us by the MGVP was very much appreciated. Rick and I were very impressed by the expertise, commitment and passion held by all employees and associates of the MGVP.  It has now become part of our fiber to do what ever we are able to provide support for this very important organization. I will begin developing some videos of surgical procedures and diagnostic procedures specifically for the MGVP to assist them in their work should an eye problem develop in a mountain gorilla. We hope that we can return to Rwanda again to provide contemporary information about diagnostic therapeutic and surgical procedures which would assist the MGVP veterinarians in their work.” 

The Gorilla Doctors are very grateful for your support Dr. Ramsey and Dr. Quinn! We hope to see you again.

You can follow the Gorilla Doctors health monitoring efforts on our Facebook page, where we post photos and notes from our monthly visits.

Please consider supporting MGVP by making a secure online donation. Every dollar you give goes to directly supporting our gorilla health programs and One Health initiative. Thank you for your generosity.