Darwin Animal Doctors


Archive: Feb 2018

  1. Pandora’s successful transfusion

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Pandora is a young German shepherd dog who’s carer brought her into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic seeking help, because her nose started bleeding. Her carer had though the the bleeding would stop, but in the end, it had continued for two days straight. There are few things that could cause unstoppable bleeding like this including intoxication, infection or a genetic disorder. The owner agreed that he has seen some ticks on Pandora lately, which led the team of Doctors to suspect an infection with Ehrlichia, which is quite a common problem in Galapagos.

    Pandora was hospitalized, and the Doctors drew some blood from her to run a few tests.  The blood test revealed some scary results; the levels of red and white blood cells were very low, and her platelet count was exceptionally low, which is why Pandora couldn’t stop bleeding. The microscopic examination of blood sample then revealed signs of the Ehrlichia infection. Pandora was in a bad state.

    The Doctors gave her the needed medication right away, but it takes quite some time to take effect. With Pandora’s nose still bleeding, the Doctors had to do something, and fast, to save Pandora’s life. The only solution was to give Pandora a blood transfusion.

    Pandora’s guardian wanted to do all he could to save her life, and immediately started searching for a donor. Unfortunately, none of the donors he found were big enough to give Pandora enough blood, but the Doctors were running out of time and needed to do something. In the end, they decided to use two donors at once to be able to give Pandora a sufficient amount.

    Such a delicate procedure would take all hands on deck. Dr. Filip let the blood collection team working on the first donor, while Dr. Alejo lead the team working on the second. The teams required four people each; one person was needed to hold the donor dog and keep them calm and relaxed during the procedure, another inserted the catheter, while a third drew blood into the syringe, and a fourth would mix the blood into anti-coagulant mixture. It was a very difficult and long procedure, but in the end enough blood was collected to give Pandora a fighting chance.


    Pandora was given the blood right away and, luckily, showed no adverse reactions to the transfusion. After a few hours, the procedure was complete and Pandora was stable enough to be sent home to be in a calm and familiar place.

    The next morning, Pandora came back with exciting news; Pandora was feeling much better and the bleeding from her nose had stopped completely! Pandora was given a check-up by one of the Doctors who was pleased with the results. She was then sent home with medication to treat Ehrlichia and scheduled another recheck for the day after.

    When Pandora returned again, she was looking better again. There were still no signs of bleeding, and her carer had said that she was even wanting to eat and play.


    “This is a great achievement, because blood transfusions are quite rarely used and even when used, the animals hardly ever make it out alive. We are very happy that Pandora’s case is a successful one. For that we have to thank all of our volunteers for their help and let’s also not forget the blood donor dogs, because they are the true heroes.” Reported back one of our volunteers.

    It is a near miracle that Pandora is still alive. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the caring guardian, and the amazing donor dogs, Pandora will continue to lead a happy, joyous life.

    Help us be there for more dogs, just like Pandora. Donate today.

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  2. Simba’s strength

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One afternoon in the Galapagos, a little puppy was brought in by his family as he had started becoming very lethargic and stopped drinking milk from his mother. The little pup had two other siblings, one of whom had already passed away. The Doctors knew that they would have to react quickly and carefully to save this little pup.

    He was immediately hospitalized, and started on an aggressive therapy to treat the suspected infection. The therapy included a variety of medications to protect his gastrointestinal tract, a combination of antibiotics, and some supportive vitamins. The little pup was closely monitored and was fed frequently by our volunteers to ensure he had everything it needed to get better. To make matters worse, the poor pup was also infested with fleas and the Doctors had to treat this problem as well.


    Simba, on his first visit – too lethargic to even lift his head. After a few days, he was already looking much better.

    Within a day, the little pup was already looking much stronger, and was able to go home. He still needed to return twice a day to get his IV medication, but his loving guardian was dedicated to the treatment, and the pup was improving every day.

    In the end, the pup’s family was so pleased to watch the little pup’s health improve, that they asked the Doctors to choose a name for him. The Doctors named him Simba.


    Simba continued to return for treatment twice daily. Eventually, he was finally strong enough to stand and walk around.

    Soon enough, Simba was well enough to be sent home with only pills, not having to come back to the clinic for daily IV treatment. Soon he will return to the clinic for another deparasite/deworming treatment and, once his health is fully restored and he is a little older, he will also be sterilized.

    Help us save more lives, just like that of Simba. Donate today.

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