Darwin Animal Doctors


Africa’s struggle with childbirth

Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Pregnancy, labor and childbirth are all extremely taxing on the body of an animal, just like for a human. Of course, the process of rearing the young also comes with its own set of complications and difficulties. For Africa, the situation became life threatening somewhere between the two stages…

Africa had been in labor for two days before she was brought into the clinic one Monday morning. She had had five puppies two days prior, and had then given birth to two still births the evening before. Africa was weak – more so than she should be, even after two days of labor.

Without an ultrasound to see inside her uterus, the team had to feel Africa’s abdomen to see if they could feel any abnormalities. As no team member was able to feel anything, and the Doctors did not want to put the already weak mother through an unnecessary surgery, Africa was given antibiotics to treat a likely uterus infection, and the family was asked to return the next day for a check up.

The next day, Africa was not better, and seemed even weaker than the day before. There was now no choice but to conduct a surgery.

Dr. Alejo and Dr. Daphne performed the surgery together, and what they found was horrifying. Africa did still have a puppy inside her. The puppy was not alive, and the stress that the long labour had put on her had resulted in a large tear in her uterus. Africa was lucky to be alive.


Dr. Alejo and Daphne removed the whole uterus and flushed Africa’s abdomen. She was given strong antibiotics as well as fluids and was kept in the clinic for monitoring, along with her five puppies.

Thankfully, the Doctors got to Africa just in time. She has improved rapidly, and is doing very well – as are her puppies. But her story is a reminder never to take a pregnancy lightly. The process is extremely demanding for a mother – and does not end at childbirth. With the number of animals already in shelters searching for loving homes, please remember to spay and neuter your pets.


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