Darwin Animal Doctors


Latest Posts

  1. Stubs’ Story

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Stubs first came in to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic in April, when he was only 2 months old. He had come in for a puppy health check with his sister Rose. Rose became quite well known to the clinic, as she faced a few health problems in her first months. Stubs, on the other hand, had not needed any extra attention or care.

    One day, however, Stubs stopped eating and drinking and became quite lethargic. After he still did not improve the next day, the family brought him into the clinic. After looking him over, Dr. Daphne noticed that the wound from his sterilization surgery (which had happened about a week before) looked a little infected. She gave Stubs an antibiotic treatment and something to help with the nausea, so that he would start to eat again. Stubs went home with his family with instructions to return if his condition did not improve.

    Three days later, Stubs returned to the clinic. He was still not eating or drinking very much, and did not seem to have any more energy. The family reported that there were no other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, although Dr. Daphne noticed that his abdomen did feel quite tense.

    That evening, and continuing over the next day, Dr. Daphne and the team began treating Stubs’ symptoms and running blood and urine tests to determine what could have been the cause. That next evening, however, Stubs’ condition got worse as he began to present with seizure-like symptoms.


    Dr. Richard was onsite when Stubs began his seizures. With the help of some volunteers, Dr. Richard was able to treat Stubs’ symptoms and return him to a normal, balanced state. Stubs remained in the clinic overnight for monitoring and to await the results of his final tests.


    The next day, the Doctors were able to determine that Stubs had meningitis, an infection of the membranes which cover the brain and spinal cord. The Doctors gave the little pup the treatment that he needs to help fight the meningitis. Over the next days, Stub’s condition improved. He began eating and drinking again, gaining 2 kilograms of body weight, and some of his energy was beginning to return.

    Stubs still has a long road to recovery, and the Doctors will need to continue to monitor his progress to ensure his continuing improvement. Make sure to check back in with us to see how the little pup improves.

    Help other animals, just like Stubs, get the essential medical that they need to survive. Donate today.

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  2. A family of cats

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Recently, the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic welcomed volunteer Andreina. Andreina is a veterinary student from Ecuador, with family living on the Galapagos Islands. Love and care for animals seemed to run in Andreina’s family, with one uncle having approximately 15 cats that he had accumulated through caring for strays over the years. The gentleman wanted the cats to be sterilized, but as he lived in the highlands and had not handled the cats too much, they were difficult to catch and transport to the clinic.

    The team contacted the government agency in charge of protection of biosecurity (ABG) for their help. The ABG team kindly organized and set traps to catch the cats, and brought them into the clinic one-by-one as they were caught. The Darwin Animal Doctors then sterilized each of the cats, and then ABG would return them to the owner. As the gentleman had requested that some of the cats be rehomed if possible, a few of the cats then went to the Kemahe group, who went on to find them loving family homes.


    After a few days, the teams had managed to catch every cat and sterilize them. A big thank you to ABG and Kemahe for such invaluable support in this effort!

    Help us continue to help support those who watch out for animals around them. Donate today.

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  3. Just in Time for School To Start: Humane Education In NYC

    On Friday, August 25, Darwin Animal Doctors brought our humane education program to Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers (H.E.A.R.T) classes at Animal Haven.  This collaboration between Darwin Animal Doctors and H.E.A.R.T provides a unique opportunity to teach our A Piggy’s Tale humane education comic book to children who are already learning how and why to be more compassionate.

    The class on Friday consisted of six young women, ranging from ages seven to eight years old.  These young learners also had the opportunity to meet (and pet) Piggy, our spokesdog.  Everyone loves doing that!

    After meeting Piggy, the class read the beginning of A Piggy’s Tale.  The young learners then discussed how to create a superhero comic of their own.  By instilling the importance of compassion and proper animal care at a young age, we are helping to inspire and educate the next generation of animal advocates.

    Piggy was also busy on Saturday, August 26th at the at the 60th Anniversary of the George Washington Houses Family Day.  The George Washington Houses are a part of the New York City Housing Authority and are known as a safe, child-friendly community.


    Piggy and Darwin Animal Doctors were invited to join the event on Saturday to help foster a greater sense of community and to help teach the importance of compassion and proper animal care.  Local children participated in a variety of activities, including coloring, puzzles, and reading A Piggy’s Tale while sitting next to everyone’s favorite super pup, Piggy!

    Humane education is a key component of Darwin Animal Doctors’ mission.  While providing free veterinary care improves the lives of those individual animals we treat, humane education has a longer lasting impact by teaching the importance of proper animal care and the importance of being a compassionate and caring individual. Values built on compassion and care extends beyond just cats and dogs.  It helps Darwin Animal Doctors protect wildlife and the greater biodiversity of planet Earth.

    Help Darwin Animal Doctors continue to provide Humane Education, here in the US, and around the world. Donate today.

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  4. Supporter Spotlight: Kim Diaz

    This month, the Darwin Animal Doctors would like to shine the spotlight on another of our heroes of Humane Education; Kim Diaz. Kim has dedicated endless hours to the furthering of Humane Education within the US and abroad; from writing and developing curriculums to training teachers in how to implement them.

    Kim first got involved with Darwin Animal Doctors in 2013 when she decided to create and pilot the first Humane Education program based on the “A Piggy’s Tale” comic books. Kim had been using the books in her own classrooms to teach humane education, but was wanting to help Piggy reach more children, in more schools.

    Kim’s program was a great success, and began to spread; initially throughout the Northeast, and then further through the US. With the program already reaching many children, Kim began creating more and more curriculum activities, ensuring that the program was diverse enough to be used to teach students of all ages. Kim soon found herself travelling around the Northeast with Piggy, introducing the program to schools and training teachers in its implementation.

    Kim has further dedicated her time and effort to support Darwin Animal Doctors’ overseas efforts, assisting with writing Piggy’s environmental care programs and working with our teams worldwide to assist in various other Humane Education programs that Darwin Animal Doctors is currently rolling out.

    As if all of Kim’s work to further Humane Education in the US and abroad wasn’t enough, in her spare time, Kim continues to be an active member of the animal and environmental rights and protection world. Kim can be found on a variety of different missions; to protect everything from threatened hatching sea turtle colonies to misunderstood schools of sharks.

    A huge thank you goes out to Kim, for your endless selfless dedication to the protection of our environment, and to ensuring the next generation follows in the same footsteps.


  5. Operation Chumphon Champion; An interview with Dr. Carmen

    Operation Chumphon Champion in Thailand was a huge success! Darwin Animal Doctors worked alongside Noistar Animal Clinic, a local veterinary clinic, to run a high-impact spay/neuter campaign between May 29th and July 28th, 2017. Our goal was to spay and neuter 400 cats and dogs during our nine weeks on the ground and were successful in sterilizing 422 domesticated animals! The team crushed the goal and in the process, saved thousands of unwanted animals from being born by significantly reducing overpopulation!


    Darwin Animal Doctors had a chance to catch up with Op Chumphon Champion Campaign Leader, Dr. Carmen Barba Claassens, and she filled us in with all the incredible campaign details.


    Darwin: Tell us all about your time in Thailand during Op Chumphon Champion. What were some of the major highlights during the campaign?

    Dr. Carmen: Our campaign was a great success in terms of our spay and neuter goals, but also was a really fun and memorable experience. My time in Thailand was different from any other campaign I had ever done. One thing that really stood out was that while there were many stray animals, we didn’t see many thin and malnourished dogs like we do on many of these types of campaigns. The local Buddhist population are very kind, and generally feed the animals, which was a wonderful thing to see.


    Darwin: What were the most challenging aspects of the campaign?

    Dr. Carmen: Trapping cats and dogs was probably the most interesting and difficult part of the campaign. Luckily, Nai, one of the assistants at Noistar, provided amazing support when it came to trapping and catching. Not only did Nai know the island very well, but he had a lot of experience with trapping – and with a blow dart no less! The team and I were usually busy in the clinic, but went out to help Nai whenever we could.

    Also, we often would find ourselves catching dogs on the beach when we were just there to relax! The team would lure the dogs in at a local beach called Shark Beach with an offer of a nice treat, before putting a leash on them and giving them a sedative injection. Of course, once the leash went on, the dogs would start barking and yelping. We would realize that all the tourists in the area were watching us, trying to work out if we were helping or harming the dogs. Luckily, we were wearing our Darwin Animal Doctors’ scrub tops, so they could work out that we were helping them. But then we had to carry these 30 to 45 pound (15 to 20 kilogram) sedated dogs back to the truck! It was one of the most physically challenging parts of the campaign.


    Darwin: Between the dogs and cats, who was the more compliant patient?

    Dr. Carmen: Cats were often easier to catch than dogs because we could set out traps for them – but that’s not to say that they didn’t come with their own troubles! Many of the cats were clever and took quite a while to go inside the trap cages. Once caught, we had to transport the cats back to the clinic. The roads in Koh Tao are not particularly smooth, so driving a cat in a carrier was quite the event. One volunteer drove the scooter while another held onto the cat carriers on the back. Now you can imagine – many of these cats were feral and had never been in a carrier before. They made a terrible fuss and a lot of noise while we were driving down the street, attracting a lot of attention. One time, when I was driving the scooter and Dr. Kate was holding a feral cat in a carrier – the cat was making so much noise, it attracted some dogs who ended up chasing us down the street! We definitely were the entertainment to the neighborhood that day!

    As for dogs, the community members proactively notified us of roaming dogs, but the dogs often were gone by the time we arrived to trap them. Many of the dogs were friendly, and so we could approach them with food to catch them. Although, the idea of leashes were so foreign to them that the dogs became quickly excited and agitated once we put the leash on them. Thankfully, we had a great team of volunteers, who would sit with the dogs in the clinic to keep the dogs calm before the surgeries.


    Darwin: How is the local wildlife and environment impacted by pet overpopulation and tourism in Koh Tao?

    Dr. Carmen: We were told about the growing number of tourists in Koh Toa who had led to expansion within the town, which has unfortunately caused a decrease in wildlife and untouched beaches. There are apparently now less than two dozen sea turtles who nest on the island. It was apparent why it was so important to help reduce the rapidly expanding population of stray cats and dogs to help protect the wildlife that still called Koh Tao home.


    Darwin: How did the locals respond to our efforts in Koh Tao?

    Dr. Carmen: We meshed well with the community. The community members were enthusiastic and appreciative of our work. They donated money to help support our program, and even brought us snacks and cold drinks during the day. In addition, the team distributed flyers and hung posters around Koh Tao to raise awareness and encourage community members to bring their cats and dogs to the clinic.

    We were also able to work with the local school and provide our humane education program to approximately 300 students. Connecting with the students was a wonderful experience as we taught the importance of safe and proper animal care. The children really engaged in our activities and wanted to learn more. The children even recognized us afterwards while we were in town and would smile and wave to us! It was a truly heartwarming experience.


    Darwin: Who was your most memorable patient?

    Dr. Carmen: My most memorable patient was also my saddest – a little bird named Mien. After a community member found a baby bird, laying on the ground and abandoned, they brought Mien into the clinic to see if anything could be done for her. I took on the responsibility of looking after her, feeding her every half-hour and providing her with around-the-clock care. It was an incredible experience to watch this little creature grow and flourish. Seeing Mien begin to trust me, get to know me, and feeling the bond between us grow gave me absolute pure joy! Releasing Mien back into the wild was the happiest and saddest moment of the whole campaign. I was so happy to see her set free, but it was also so sad to watch her go.


    Darwin: What was your experience leading a team of veterinary volunteers in Thailand?

    Dr. Carmen: As campaign leader, I was so impressed with every volunteer.  Darwin Animal Doctors clinics provide hands-on experience that is life-changing for both our patients and our volunteers. After the campaign ended, our volunteer veterinarians told me how wonderful it was to join the campaign and how much they learned during their time with us. Similarly, the veterinarian students really stepped up to the plate. They picked up skills quickly and learned very fast. Every student told me how grateful they were to be a part of the campaign and all they accomplished in Thailand. Operation Chumphon Champion was a team effort between Darwin Animal Doctors and Noistar Animal Clinic and together, we made a real impact and long-lasting difference in Thailand.


    To support Darwin Animal Doctors’ efforts to reduce pet overpopulation and protect biodiversity around the world, please make your donation here. Your generosity provides life-saving care for animals in need and humane education for future generations worldwide. 


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