Darwin Animal Doctors


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  1. Luna’s return hematoma

    Remember Luna, who had an aural hematoma back in December of last year?


    Well, unfortunately, the owners didn’t notice that Luna had another ear infection… After a few days of shaking her head again, Luna had another aural hematoma. One issue with aural hematomas is that they do tend to be repeat problems…

    This time the Doctors decided to try another method in order to treat the hematoma and removed the excess blood with a syringe. After successfully draining the hematoma, Dr Carmen put some medication on the skin of her ear, and then applied a bandage around Luna’s head to add some pressure.

    Luna was not alone as both Dr Carmen and Dr Majella had bandages as well! Poor Dr Carmen had to catch a cat who got a little scared and decided to start climbing its way around the clinic… Many of you may not know, but Dr Carmen is not only a wonderful veterinarian, but she is also a super cat catcher – known to scale walls, leap from amazing heights and catch cats with one hand! Unfortunately, in this incident, the cat was a bit of a wild one and by the time everyone had realized that Carmen had already caught the cat and open a holding cage, the cat gave Carmen a bit of a bite…

    With Dr Majella also with an injury from a stray sharp object, the team got together for a little bandage photo-shoot!

    Lucky Luna went home with the bandage on her head and a good reminder to her owners to keep an eye on her ears!

    Bandage team! Majella hurted herself with a needle   P1070320

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  2. The case of the found Ocelot

    This past Monday, Dr Jochem was called back in for an emergency – the previously sited ocelot had been turned in to the clinic.

    Over the previous weeks, this poor ocelot had been sited at various locations on the island – supposedly wearing a collar. Concern only grew for the poor cat when reports came in that he was injured and not able to walk properly. The endangered animal needed help, and needed it fast.

    The clinic team jumped into action and began asking the public for help in finding and bringing the injured ocelot to the clinic. Attempts to catch the cat had been unsuccessful as he would continue to hide in unreachable places, but, finally, a few days after his initial sighting the poor, injured cat was caught and brought in.

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    As Dr Jochem arrived, the clinic tech had the cat on the table and was giving him much needed fluids. The Doctor then gently and carefully inspected the cat to make sure he had no further injuries. His hind legs were in terrible condition, with severe muscle atrophy, leaving his back half looking like just skin and bone. With drag injuries to his legs, it was clear that he had been in pain, hauling himself around for quite some time in this condition. He had probably not eaten in a long time, unable to catch prey with such injuries.


    As the clinic team contacted the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic, The Doctor searched for something that the wild cat might be able to eat. In the end, the best solution available in the clinic was a mixture of wet and dry cat food.

    Arrangements to transport the cat to the Wildlife Clinic on the mainland were made and the cat was put in a holding cage to rest for the night. Dr Jochem knelt by the cage and put the bowl of food in, hoping the cat’s excessive hunger might lead him to try to the unfamiliar food. Surprisingly, he went straight for it. While there was no collar on the cat when he arrived, with the pattern of his hair around his neck and previous reports suggesting that he was wearing one, and his quick reaction to cat food it, definitely seemed that he had been illegally kept as someone’s pet.

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    The next morning, the cat was on his way to the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic. The clinic team did an amazing job getting the attention of the public in order to have the cat brought into the clinic. While he has a long way to go to recovery, he will be in very good hands in the Wildlife Clinic.

    The Belizean Ocelot is an endangered and protected species. This animal should never be kept as a pet, and any suspected cases of such should always be reported to the correct authorities.

    Thank you to everyone involved in getting this particular cat back to safety.


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  3. “Thank you” just doesn’t cut it…

    The Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos Fund, a long term supporter of Darwin Animal Doctors, enabled Dr. Carmen to order a major restock of supplies and equipment for the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic. For Carmen, it was like being a kid let free in a toy store….

    As well as a full stock of supplies, we can also upgrade the clinic, especially the surgery room, in order to be better equipped to treat domestic animals and the increasing number of wildlife cases coming through the door. The impact that such generosity and support from the Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos Fund will manifest in safer surgeries, better anaesthetics, better equipment for the treatment of wildlife and a stock of high quality supplies. Our Darwin Animal Doctors vets will be able to treat more animals and at a higher standard than ever before.

    Our Ecuadorian suppliers Vetflexx and AllPets, also long term supporters of the Darwin Animal Doctors, helped us get what we needed. Omar, Dr Sotomayor and Dr Tania along with their amazing team from AllPets coordinated the orders and purchases from their base in the capital city, Quito. AllPets were also an important partner supplying our earthquake relief team during the 2016 disaster on the coast of Ecuador.

    As the team in Quito organised the supplies, NOVA Galapagos, headed by Rene Heyer, worked alongside Carmen in organising the logistics of moving such a large order to Galapagos and making sure everything complied with the strict restrictions on shipments in and out of the Islands. Eventually it was decided to send Carmen to Quito to personally escort the supplies back. The biggest concern was that this would leave a clinic full of patients with no qualified veterinarian in attendance.

    As if they had somehow heard a telepathic call for help, two veterinarians, Dr Paul and Dr Babette contacted the clinic mentioning that they were currently travelling in South America and inquired if Darwin Animal Doctors needed any veterinary volunteers. With cases streaming in the front door, Carmen was very happy to have such an offer, and Drs Paul and Babette were confirmed to volunteer and their paperwork was underway. And then, Carmen and Rene had an idea. They contacted Paul and Babette and asked if they would mind going first to AllPets in Quito to pick up the supplies and bring them over to the clinic. Thankfully they said that that would be no problem, and the issue of how to transport the supplies to the Islands was solved.

    After that, everything set in like clockwork. Paul and Babette purchased two extra suitcases and dropped them off with Dr Tania and her team from AllPets . The next day, the two picked the cases up, full of supplies, to bring with them to the clinic in Galapagos. As not everything fit this time, Dr Tania and the team at AllPets will fill more suitcases for the next volunteers who have already agreed to make a stop in Quito to coordinate the movement of the next set of supplies.

    Darwin Animal Doctors are constantly aiming to provide the highest level of veterinary care possible, in all areas of the world. The generosity of organisations such as the Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos Fund and the kindness of individuals such as those from VetFlexx or veterinarians such as Paul and Babette, allow us to reach this goal. Thanks to this coordination of support, our clinic is now better than it has ever been.

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  4. Negra, La Elegida.

    Little Negra should have been called “Suerte” or “La Elegida” after luck would have it that she survived such an unfortunate incident…

    This little one month old puppy was one of a litter of eight. The owner of the puppies wanted to do the right thing by them and deparasite them all. Deparasiting is very important for the health of puppies, however, as puppies are so fragile and deparasites are medication, it is also something you have to be careful with. As for all medications, it is essential to give the correct dose and of the correct type of medication – something approved for puppies.

    The owner went to the pet store and asked advice from the seller, who was not someone knowledgeable about animal medications. The store attendant advised the owner to give a certain amount of a dewormer – one that was not approved for use in dogs younger than two months old, or under one kilogram. Negra and her littermates weighted a tiny 0.8 kg. Moreover, the store owner prescribed 10 times the amount of dewormer needed for a dog of this size.

    The owner dutifully returned home and gave the deparasite medication to the litter of puppies. Instantly, six of the pups swelled up so badly that five did not surviving the incident. Two puppies luckily did not react in the same manner and one, little Negra, somehow survived. With a will to live, the little pup continued until the owner decided to bring her to the clinic two days later…

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    Thankfully, Negra was still able to eat and drink and so was not in such bad shape when she came into the clinic. The Doctors gave her two injections, one of anti-histamines, and another to also help reduce the swelling and counter the allergic reaction.

    Two days later, Negra returned to the clinic looking much better. Thankfully the lucky pup will survive the incident, along with the two littermates who had no reaction.  Lucky Negra will serve as a reminder to us all of the importance to ask advice from someone qualified before administering any type of medication to your pets.

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  5. Jack’s Second Chance

    Jack was roaming the highlands of Santa Cruz; hungry, sick and covered in fleas, ticks and mites. It is a tough life for a dog without a home, and Jack was truly bearing the brunt of it. That was, until one day, when a lovely resident found Jack and brought him straight to the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic.

    The Doctors could see straight away that Jack was in terrible condition – anyone could. He was so infested with fleas that they could be visibly seen jumping around, even towards Doctors! The Doctors could also see that he had a very bad mite infestation. The infestation was so bad that Jack had gotten a secondary skin infection. His paws were swollen and painful, and his skin was so damaged and dry, that it would crack open and bleed at even the slightest touch. It must have been torturous for poor Jack, living on the streets in the extreme hot and dry conditions of the Galapagos Islands.

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    The Doctors treated Jack for the mites, ticks and fleas, and then also for his secondary skin infection. Jack was given antibiotics and his new owners were given a special medicated shampoo to help get Jack’s skin back to health.

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    Two weeks later, Jack came back for a check up and he was already looking much better. The pads of his paws were no longer swollen and his skin no longer cracked, flaked or bled. The secondary skin infection was under control and Jack had even started to grow back his hair.

    The Doctors were so glad to see such improvement in Jack, as were his new, proud family. Jack will return again in another two weeks, and then every month to continue his treatment and ensure that he returns to fit, full health.

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