Darwin Animal Doctors


Archive: Jan 2018

  1. Muñeco

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Just as the Galapagos team had finished up for the morning and were heading out for their lunch break, an emergency arrived at the gates. Muñeco, a three year old Husky, had been chewing on a bone; one that was small enough that he had tried to swallow it.  The bone was now lodged in his throat, blocking his airway and giving him trouble breathing. The bone had also begun to aggravate Muñeco’s throat, and the team could see blood seeping out of his mouth. Poor Muñeco needed help immediately.

    The team put the Husky under anaesthesia so that they could properly examine and remove the bone, without risk of Muñeco moving, and causing more damage to his delicate airway. Dr. Alejo, with the help of Dr. Natasja and Julia, examined the pup’s throat. Sure enough, they saw the culprit – a bone was lodged in his esophagus. The bone had many sharp edges, and the team had to be extremely careful to remove the bone delicately, without damaging the tissue any further.

    “As soon as it was removed, we could see that Muñeco started breathing normally. Everybody was relieved!” reported back one of our volunteers.

    The bone had still caused some lesions to the esophagus, which will take some time to heal. The team are hopeful that Muñeco will make a full recovery, and have no further issues from the damage to his esophagus. But they also took this opportunity to remind us all just how dangerous feeding small bones to your dogs and cats is;

    “Unfortunately this is a case we see quite frequently. Lots of owners are not aware of the risk feeding bones. Dogs struggle with swallowing them and most of the time they get stuck in their throats which can end fatally.”

    Please remember to be careful when feeding your dogs and cats bones; make sure that they are big enough that they will not try to swallow the bone.


    Luckily for Muñeco, the Darwin Animal Doctors team was there to help when things went terribly wrong. Help us be there for animals all over the world; Become a monthly donor today.

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  2. Africa returns…

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Africa has had quite a rough last few months. After having a C-section at the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic due to a distressing pregnancy, she has recently returned again. While she healed very well from her c-section, she had developed a skin condition that was progressively worsening. If you remember, Africa had come into the Darwin clinic many times before to have this same condition treated. Likely the stress and struggle of the pregnancy weakened Africa’s immune system enough, that the condition returned.

    “The skin was inflamed, swollen, red and so damaged, that the flesh could be seen. Even her eyes already had a discharge. It must have been a very painful condition” reported our veterinary team.


    Africa; on her first visit

    The Doctors did a skin test on Africa, just to be sure they knew what they were dealing with. Under the microscope, they found Demodex – a skin parasite. She likely had a secondary skin infection as well, which would have jined one the Demodex took hold.

    “We started treating Africa with antibiotics and also gave her Bravecto – the strongest and best working anti-ectoparasitic medication we have here in the clinic. We told the owner to come back after two weeks to check how the condition was improving.”

    After two weeks, the family returned. And the progress was better than expected.


    Africa; on her second visit

    “The infection seemed to have all but disappeared, and there was a significant progress in the healing of Africa’s skin. The skin was calmer, no more opened flesh, no eye discharge.  And most importantly – no scratching – which meant it was no longer painful and itchy. There were still crusts on her face, so it still needed quite some time to heal completely.”

    Another recheck was scheduled for another few weeks later. Upon her return, Africa looked like a new dog. Her skin had cleared up, and her hair had almost completely regrown. Only at close inspection could one of the old lesions still just be seen. Her recovery was amazing.

    Africa; on her third visit.What a difference!

    During her treatment process, Alita, one of Africa’s puppies came into the clinic with hair loss and dermatitis issues on her head and around her eyes. The team quickly suspected Demodex as it can easily transfer between a mother and her puppies. Just to be sure, the Doctors tested Alita’s skin as well, and it revealed exactly what the team expected. Alita was also treated alongside her mother, and made an equally drastic recovery.


    Help ensure that all animals, just like Africa and Alita, have access to veterinary care. Donate today.

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  3. Lourdes and the rubber band

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Lourdes came to the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic with a wound on his right front paw. The team of Doctors tried to examine the wound, but the poor pup was so frightened that he quickly became highly agitated and was trying to bite the Doctors. The family were not able to muzzle Lourdes and his behavior continued to escalate. Instead of stressing the poor pup any more, the team of Doctors provided the family with antibiotics and medication to help with the pain. They asked the family to give the medication to the dog once he relaxed and to bring him back into the clinic the next day so the team could try, once again, to examine the wound.

    The family and Lourdes returned several days later. The wound was still present, and had seemed to have moved from the back to the front of his paw. The Doctors suspected that something was constricting the limb, and causing damage throughout the paw. Knowing how fearful Lourdes was and how quickly he escalated the previous visit, the team sedated him immediately, allowing them to closely examine the wound.

    “As we suspected, we found a rubber band that someone put on the leg and it was already cutting deep into the flesh” reported one of our Doctors onsite.

    The team understood very quickly why Lourdes had become so nervous so quickly; he was in a lot of pain. While Lourdes was still sedated, Dr. Filip quickly and carefully removed the band, washed the wound thoroughly and closed it with few stitches.


    “With cases like this, prolonged constriction by elastic bands limits blood flow and after some time causes necrosis of the paw. Lourdes was very lucky, because despite having his paw constricted for probably close to two weeks, he only had deep and bleeding wounds. If the paw was necrotic, we would have had to amputate the leg. In this case though, the prognosis is very good and the wound is expected to heal completely”.

    Thankfully for this dog, the Darwin Animal Doctors team were there to look after him, and save his leg before the constriction progressed to necrosis. The team will keep an eye on Lourdes during the healing process, but he is expected to have a full recovery.

    Although this was a simple treatment, it was also a simple act that caused Lourdes so much pain and discomfort. If this injury was left untreated, the damaged to Lourdes right front paw could have been much worse.

    We are there for all animals when they need help. Help us, help them. Donate today.

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  4. Pulpa and her pups

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Pulpa was brought into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic by friends of her family. They believed she was having trouble giving birth. Pulpa seemed as though she was in pain; she was trying to push but had not yet given birth to any puppies.

    “Since complications in birth are quite common and possess a risk both to life of puppies and the mother, we decided to hospitalize Pulpa” the Doctors stated.

    Pulpa was given an IV catheter and was given some supportive medication. She was restless in the clinic, wanting to walk around and move. But she had still not given birth, and the Doctors could not feel a puppy in the birth canal.

    “When dogs give birth, it takes some time for them to prepare for the process. Nervousness and contractions can appear often.”

    After few hours in the clinic, there was finally some good news. Pulpa gave birth to her first puppy, and the puppy was healthy and doing well. A few moments later, the second puppy was out, also alive and healthy. Over the next few hours, Pulpa gave birth to two more puppies, both healthy and happy. The Doctors could feel that Pulpa still had at least one more puppy to give birth to, but as she was doing so unassisted and naturally so far, they decided to send her home where she would be most calm and relaxed.


    “The best place for her to give birth and care for her puppies would be at home, a place she knows, where she can be calm and not stressed about the hospital environment.”

    So Pulpa went home, and the Doctors heard that a fifth puppy was born, happy and healthy at home. The family were so grateful for the support of the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, that they invited them out to their restaurant Lemon & Coffee for a wonderful ‘thank you’ dinner.



    Help us in our aim to bring veterinary care to animals all over the world. Donate today.




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  5. Tomas and his tumor

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    A worried guardian brought Tomas to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic as there was a lump growing out of his left lower eyelid. The lump was not extremely large, but it was in a sensitive and delicate location. After a further examination, the Doctors concluded that it could potentially be a tumor. Despite Tomas only being three years old, he would have to undergo surgery to remove the potentially life-threatening tumor on his eye lid.


    Tomas was scheduled for surgery a few days later. Dr. Filip, with the support of Dominika, performed the sensitive surgery. The team skillfully removed the tumor, needing only a tiny incision, and leaving Tomas with only one small stitch. After the lump’s removal, the team inspected a sample under a microscope to determine its origin.

    “It revealed an increased number of cells with black pigment in them. These cells are called melanocytes so the conclusion was that the lump was actually a tiny melanocytic tumour. These tumours are generally benign and this one didn’t show signs of malignity. Therefore, Tomas has a good prognosis and we expect the tumour not to come back. His eyelid looked very nice after the surgery and should heal quickly” reported the Doctors.

    Thankfully, Tomas is expected to make a full recovery, and shouldn’t expect to see any other nasty tumors. His eyelid should also heal completely, leaving Tomas to continue his long, happy life.





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  6. Luna and her life-and-death situation

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    When Luna came to the Darwin Animal Doctors, she was apparently in labor for three days without giving birth to even one kitten. Luna was in a terrible condition and the Doctors feared for the poor cat’s life. Luna was hospitalized, given intravenous fluids, and started on various treatments. Despite all the care Luna received, and some improvement in her condition, she still had not given birth to even one kitten. The Doctors had to make a difficult decision. Luna needed to have a C-section. Waiting any longer to operate would lead to a rapid decline in her health and likely lead to her death. However, surgery was also extremely risky for a cat in such a weakened condition.

    The Doctors knew that it was now or never. Luna needed surgery.

    The whole team were called together to help in this life-and-death operation. Dr. Alejo and Jenna conducted the surgery, while Jenice took care of the anesthesia and Chris assisted in the operating room. Dominika, Max, and Dr. Filip waited on-hand, ready to resuscitate the newborn kittens.

    Luna’s uterus was huge, and filled with five kittens in total. Dr. Alejo began removing them one by one, passing them to the resuscitation team. Two were stillborn and had no chance at resuscitation; another two kittens, while weak and not breathing, still had a fighting chance. The team gave the kittens every chance possible: rubbing, warming, drying, heating and medicating the kittens to help them to start breathing. Amazingly, after some intensive care, the two kittens finally took their first breaths.

    The fifth kitten was the cause of Luna’s distress, having developed malformed in the uterus died in the uterus. When the Luna tried to birth, this kitten blocked the birth passage for the other kittens.


    While the team saved two kittens, they were not done yet. Luna was weak and had a poor prognosis prior to surgery. The team was doing everything possible to keep her alive during the surgery and monitored her closely as she began to wake from the anesthesia.

    The stress of the surgery had taken its toll – Luna had a seizure.

    Thankfully, the Doctors responded immediately. The lightly sedated Luna to help the seizure pass. She was closely monitored and slowly started to improve every hour. The kittens, who were being had fed every few hours by the volunteers, were also doing well. But would need their mother.

    Miraculously, thanks to the incredible care and attention from the team of Doctors, by the second day, Luna and her two kittens had improved so much that they were already strong and well enough to go home.


    Luckily for Luna, the Darwin Animal Doctors team were able to save her life, and those of two of her kittens. Not all animals are so lucky. Help us make sure that all animals have access to veterinary care when they need it most. Donate today.

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