Darwin Animal Doctors


Archive: Apr 2018

  1. Oreo has a sleep over with the vets

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Oreo is a 3-year old male cat that has had problems with urinary obstruction a number of times. An uncomfortable and painful condition, if left untreated, urinary obstructions can also become life threatening. As the urine contains toxins that the body is trying to get rid of, if the urine can’t leave the body these toxins begin to accumulate in the blood.

    Oreo has seen the Doctors multiple times over the past years for this same condition. The team and Oreo’s dedicated owner have tried everything possible to treat the chronic condition. However, despite all the best attempts, Oreo would only ever get better for shorter periods of time. Lately, those periods of health were getting shorter and shorter. The Doctors were now left with no other option but to do a urethrostomy (a penis amputation) which would then create a bigger opening to reduce the risk of obstructions.

    The surgery it not an easy one. It is a very delicate procedure, requiring extreme concentration and precision in every movement. To ensure the greatest care, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin performed the surgery together with the support of Dr. Kat.


    After the surgery, Oreo remained a hospitalized patient for a few days to make sure that he recovered as expected. Such a sweet and loving cat, Oreo gained the affections of Dr. Stella very quickly. For the time that he remained in the clinic, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin would take Oreo back to their apartment in the evenings so that he could sleep comfortably in their bed.


    Thanks to a successful surgery (and the extra love and care), Oreo improved greatly and has had no issues so far. He has since been able to return home to his family, but will return to the clinic regularly over the coming weeks for check ups.



    Left untreated, Oreo’s condition can become fatal. Many animals die from treatable conditions due to a lack of veterinary care.
    Help us reach those animals. Donate today.

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  2. When Prim stopped eating

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    When Prim, a sweet, energetic puppy started to become lethargic, his guardians started to become concerned. After a few days, Prim had no more energy and then stopped eating. At this point, his guardians became very worried and brought Prim straight to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic.  As the Doctors examined the puppy they noticed that his respiration was very fast and they he had very pale mucosea. Prim was not well, and the Doctors needed to find out why – and soon.

    Dr. Justin ran a blood examination, expecting that there was some kind of infection. The examination revealed just that – Prim was severely anemic and had a high infection cell count. He was also positive for Erlichia, a tick-born disease. The Doctor’s concluded that Prim was having a severe immune reaction due to the Erlichia, and that his body had begun to destroy his own red blood cells in response. Prim was in dire need of help.


    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella hospitalized Prim to start him on his life-saving therapy. The therapy is a long one, ridding his body of the infections and bringing him back to balance, stopping his immune response from damaging his own body. While the therapy would take some time, within a number of hours the Doctors could already see an improvement in Prim. Together with some extra love and attention, the therapy was working.

    After a day, Prim was healthy enough to return home and continue the therapy with his family at his side. His guardians were happy that their beloved pup would be able to return home and was well on his way to recovery.


    Prim’s life was saved due to the dedication of our team of volunteers. Help our Doctors be able to continue saving lives every day. Donate today.

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  3. Spay and neuter campaign, San Cristobal

    San Cristobal, Galapagos

    And the campaigns continue! The most recent spay and neuter campaign was in San Cristobal, where the Darwin Animal Doctors team, along with the government agency in charge of protecting biodiversity, ABG, worked for three solid days to spay and neuter as many animals as possible. The team consisted of our Dynamic Duo, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin, volunteer Kaat and veterinary technician students Tove and Ingrid. Alongside Dr. Rita from ABG and Dr. Fernando, the team were able to sterilize 44 dogs and cats in the three days, as well as offering general medical treatment to any animal in need.

    We are really proud to be able to run these campaigns hand-in-hand with ABG. To make the biggest impact, both in the protection of the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands and in the future for the animals that call them home, we need to be able to provide spay and neuter and veterinary services for every domesticated animal on every inhabited island. Thanks to this amazing partnership, we are taking huge steps forward in being able to make this a reality.

    As the day begins, the holding bays already start to fill up with animals awaiting surgery


    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella prepare for surgery, and then dive right in – as they already have a number of animals waiting!


    Ad the day continues, the post-op bay starts to fill up. But the surgeries are just beginning…

    With some of the more complicated surgeries, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella support each other and work together.


    Help us reach our goal of being able to provide free spay and neuter and veterinary services to every domesticated animal on every inhabited island in Galapagos. Donate today.

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  4. A weekend with consequences

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One Saturday, Damster was not a very well-behaved dog and decided to eat three little chicks… According to his guardian, he chased them and swallowed them one by one, so quickly that it was not possible for the family to get to him and stop him before it was too late.

    As if from Karma, Damster almost immediately got sick; he stopped eating, started vomiting and experienced excessive pain in his abdomen. Damster’s young guardian knew there was something wrong and rushed him to the clinic straight away.

    The Doctors checked the pup for an obstruction but, although his abdomen was painful, there did not seem to be an obstruction present. For now, Damster was free from surgery. Due to his condition, however, the Doctors decided to keep the pup in the clinic for observation and continual treatment. The team built Damster a nice bed in a quiet corner of the clinic so he could rest and be comfortable for his stay in the clinic. As soon as the pup was in his new bed another symptom presented itself – diarrhea.

    Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin started Damster on a number of medications (including antibiotics, anti-emetics and painkillers) to help improve the pup’s condition. It took some time before Damster wanted to eat again, and he scared the Doctors a few times with low blood sugar – one time resulting in a hypoglycemic attack. Despite his initial unwillingness to eat, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin’s treatment worked and Damster slowly began to improve. Volunteer Ingrid was particularly helpful for the little pup in his healing process. She spent long hours hand feeding the little pup, first with sugar water through a syringe, and later whole foods. When Damster just needed to rest, he would spend the time sleeping next to Ingrid, on her desk.

    Eventually, Damster started eating better, moving around and eventually even crying for attention. At one point, the little pup began searching for food in all parts of the clinic, and started to get his mischievous nature back. It was then that the team knew that the pup was well enough to return home.


    Damster then returned happy and healthy to his family home – hopefully with a better idea about the consequences of eating things he’s not supposed to eat…

    Help us continue to provide veterinary care to those animals who need it, just like Damster. Donate today.

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  5. Spay and neuter campaign, Isabela, 2018

    Isabela, Galapagos

    DAD, in collaboration with ABG, has started the initiative of organising spay and neuter campaigns every month. Not only on the main island, Santa Cruz, where the clinic is located, but also on the other island that don’t have
    veterinary care.

    In February, Isabela was visited by the Darwin Animal Doctors team, in collaboration with ABG to spay and neuter as many pets and strays as possible, and to provide veterinary care to those animals who, otherwise, do not receive such care. During this week, 60 animals were sterilized by the team!


    1. Drs Stella and Justin in surgery     2. Dr. Stella warms up a cat in the sun after surgery         3. “I don’t weigh that much!”


                     4. Dr. Stella in surgery                  5. Lots of patients, means lots of towels, means a big trip to the laundry!


    Sterilizing your pets helps stop pet overpopulation and unwanted litters ending up on the street. Help us provide this essential service around the world. Donate today.

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  6. Supporter Spotlight; The Dynamic Duo, Justin and Stella.

    Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal
    Galapagos Islands
    It is time once again, for a Supporter Spotlight, and who better to shine the spotlight on than the two Doctors who have made everything that we have achieved this year possible; Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella. 
    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella came to the Galapagos clinic at the beginning of this year to take over from Dr. Alejo when he returned to the mainland to continue his surgical specialization. Since then, they have taken to the role like fish to water and have impressed us to no end with their dedication and perseverance through any and all challenges. 
    This dynamic duo have been handed the biggest set of tasks of any Chief Veterinarian so far. As the clinic has continued to grow and take on new ventures, the role of the Chief Veterinarian has gotten more challenging and involves more organisation and time dedication. With campaigns monthly, education programs budding and more eager-to-learn student volunteers than ever before, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella have a big role – a role they fulfill with smiles on their faces and optimism in their approach. 
    Alongside their commitment and their willingness to work hard, these two are particularly impressive in their desire to help animals in need. Such care and dedication is felt by the whole volunteer team, who see Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin always go that extra step in caring for their patients. Whether it be giving cat that extra TLC they need to get better, or staying extra hours to ensure that a dog gets the best treatment possible, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella are committed to do it. 
    We are proud to watch this team continue to succeed, and enjoy hearing the stories of successful treatments and happy, inspired volunteers. We are delighted to be able to continue to share with you over the next few months everything this couple has been able to, and will continue to, achieve.
    Thank you, Justin and Stella, for such amazing work so far in Galapagos. We are very proud to have you both heading our volunteer team and appreciate everything you do to fulfill that role so well!

    Help Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella have what they need to succeed in helping animals in Galapagos and protecting it’s incredible ecosystem. Donate today. 
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