Darwin Animal Doctors


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  1. Spay and neuter campaign, Santa Cruz, January 2018

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    The Darwin Animal Doctors team have been busier than ever this year, running additional spay/neuter campaigns around the Galapagos islands monthly, with the support of the ABG (Agencia de Regulacion y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galapagos – the agency in control of the protection of biosecurity in Galapagos).

    Over the next weeks, we will give you a run down of the amazing work that these campaigns have achieved – and will be continuing to achieve throughout the rest of the year.

    On January 15th was the beginning of the first of these campaigns. This first campaign was to focus on Santa Cruz, the same island where the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic is located, but in areas where the residents have difficulties bringing their animals to the clinic.

    For three days, the clinic team, alongside the team from ABG, conducted spay and neuter surgeries. Furthermore, all dogs that came through the clinic were microchipped, helping with the assessment of the number of dogs on the islands, including the ability to link the medical profile of a dog to the dog itself.

    Over the three days, the team were able to conduct a total of 34 spay and neuter surgeries. Below, you can see some photos from the three day campaign; the animals that came through and the teams that worked so hard to make it happen.





    Help us continue to protect the precious ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. Donate today.

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  2. Jay, the photo story of a spay surgery

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    With a strong focus on spay and neuter surgeries, our clinic is busy conducting these surgeries daily. Sterilization surgeries are the only humane and successful way to manage pet populations, ensuring that both the local ecosystem and our pets can live out happy, healthy futures. As we conduct so many of these essential surgeries, we had thought that it was about time to take you through the process, from beginning to end, with a photo story of a spay.

    Jay, a four-month old labrador x basset hound, was kind enough to be our model, and so we will follow her through her experience of a spay surgery with Darwin Animal Doctors. Jay is well known to the clinic as she has been coming in for treatment of the blue haze over her eyes. The treatment has been going very well, and the haze in her eyes has decreased significantly. Now of age, and healthy and strong enough, Jay has returned this time to the clinic for her sterilization surgery.

    Jay is brought into the clinic for her surgery. She has been brought in a few times already for treatment for the blue haze on her eyes. While Jay is normally happy and comfortable in the clinic, she is a little nervous this time as her family leaves without her. 


    The Doctors don’t like keeping patients waiting, and so Jay was soon given her pre-medication to make her sleepy and ready for her surgery. Here, you can see that the medication is starting to take it’s effect, and Jay is starting to get drowsy.



    Once Jay is sleepy enough, she is prepared for the surgery by shaving and extensive cleaning of the surgical area. After that, her surgery begins. A spay surgery can be conducted by one or two vets. In our clinics, the surgery is most commonly conducted by two vets – one lead vet and one assisting vet. This then also means that our highest skilled students are able to assist a lead vet in a surgery and learn through hands-on training. 


    After her surgery is complete, Jay stays on the surgery table and is closely monitored by the Doctors until she is awake enough to safely be placed in a recovery area. In the recovery area, Jay is still monitored carefully as she progresses to being fully alert. 



    Once Jay is fully recovered from the anaesthetics, she is feeling much better and sits by the door to await her family’s return. When her guardian arrives, Jay is overjoyed to see him. Happy to be reunited, Jay and her guardian can now return home. Jay requires a bit of close attention and some medication for the coming days, but will recover quickly and easily from her surgery. 


    Spay and neuter surgeries are the only humane way to control pet populations and ensure that they do not have a negative impact on the environment around them. Moreover, sterilizations surgeries can help keep certain illnesses and cancers at bay, and ensure that your pet leads a happy and healthy life.

    A big thank you to Jay for being our star model. Also, a big thank you to Jay’s family for looking after Jay so well, and for making the decision to get her spayed. Finally, thank you to all our volunteers who ensure that these sterilization surgeries continue every day, protecting the unique and fragile ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands.


    Help us achieve our aim of providing spay neuter and medical services to communities all over the world. Donate today.

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  3. Copito’s Story

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Copito, a six month old kitten, was brought into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic due to a fracture of the femur. Such a fracture is particularly dangerous as the femur is a very crucial large bone. Copito was hospitalized so that the Doctors could give the little kitten everything he needed to make a full recovery.


    Not long into his hospitalization, the team of Doctors noticed that there was more going on with Copita than just his femur fracture. Dr. Natasja recognized Copito’s syndromes from a previous case she had treated in one of her own rescue cats. The six month old kitten was suffering from something called “secondary nutritional hyperparathyroidism”, also known as “all meat syndrome”. This disease develops in cats when they are fed a diet of only meat and fish without a good calcium source. This lack of calcium was also what lead to the fractured femur, as calcium is essential for the maintenance of strong and healthy bones.

    The Doctors informed Copito’s carers of his condition and the cause of it. The family were unaware of the dangers of only feeding a growing kitten meat and fish, thinking that they had been giving him the best food possible. The family immediately agreed to change Copito over to a diet of nutritionally balanced cat food, something our Doctors always advise to our clients.

    A poor diet can cause a lot of problems for animals – just like it can for humans. It is essential to feed your animal a balanced and healthy diet. If you are choosing a special diet for your pet, please always check with a medically qualified veterinary professional to see if the diet has everything your four-legged friend needs.


    Help us be there to educate on the best care for animals, just like Copito. Donate today.

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  4. Supporter Spotlight – Dr. Natasja Slooten

    It is about time that we took a moment to shine the Supporter Spotlight once again. This month, we have a wonderful reason to do so…

    Last month marked the final days of one truly dedicated long-term volunteer, Dr. Natasja Slooten.  As a recently graduated vet Dr. Natasja wanted to start her professional life by giving back and dedicating her skills to helping animals in need. To that end, Dr. Natasja applied to volunteer with us for three months, joining us right after volunteering in Cuba for two months (also to provide much needed veterinary services). We were thrilled to welcome Dr. Natasja to our team and were not surprised to see that throughout her three months Dr. Natasja gave her all – from training student veterinarians to organizing donations and supporting our sterilization and vaccination campaigns.


    Every member of our team was impressed with Dr. Natasja’s hard work, her positive attitude and her gentle and encouraging teaching skills. Teaching and working in Galapagos is not always easy, but reports flooded back about Dr. Natasja and Dr. Alejo – the dynamic duo who could treat and teach anything. What’s more, after originally apologizing for not being able to bring supplies to the clinic (due to donating every medical useful item with her to those in need in Cuba), Dr. Natasja set to work arranging donations from back in the Netherlands. When her parents came to visit her in Galapagos, they were also asked to carry with them the suitcases full of supplies that Dr. Natasja had managed to collect.


    While we are lucky enough to have a number of wonderful volunteers come through our clinics, to dedicate three months to supporting our cause, and to do so with a smile and positive attitude every day, is a truly admirable quality. We are always inspired to meet veterinarians and veterinary students with a heart like that of Dr. Natasja – with the future in the hands of such vets, our future continues to look brighter.



    Help us continue to provide educational placements to future veterinarians, and provide mentors, like Natasja, to ensure a generation of veterinarians ready to give back.  Donate today.

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  5. Linda, the dog who was brought back from the dead.

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Recently, a dog was brought into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ Galapagos clinic as she had started seizing at home for unknown reasons. Linda’s family rushed her into the clinic, distraught about the poor pup’s health. By the time they arrived at the clinic, Linda had been seizing for half an hour. Her temperature was extremely high and almost straight after her arrival, she stopped breathing, and her heart stopped beating.

    Linda was medically dead.

    Volunteer Natalie quickly began giving Linda chest compressions to try to get her heart started again, while the rest of the volunteer team placed an airway tube and worked on getting Linda breathing. A tense and life-changing moment, the team worked together quickly and flawlessly and was miraculously able to bring Linda back to life.

    While this lucky dog had just been given a second chance at life, Linda was still not completely out of the woods. She had sustained some neurological damage which would take some time to improve. Luckily for Linda, she had a dedicated and loving family and medical team ready to do anything they could to help her make a full recovery.

    Linda stayed in the clinic for the coming days in order to receive careful and constant attention from the veterinary team. Volunteer Natalie had taken a special liking to Linda, and spent hours of her day hand feeding the pup, and giving her physiotherapeutic and massage treatments to help her muscles recover from the seizure – they were still very tense and weak, due to the extended time in seizure. The Doctors had taken such a liking to Linda, that she was brought into the volunteer dorms and given a beg of her own, to make sure she was as comfortable as possible during her recovery.


    Not only did Linda receive special attention from the veterinary team, but her family came into the clinic regularly to visit her and to bring her special and favourite foods to help her get through her treatment.  Every time her family arrived at the clinic, Linda’s tail would begin to wag, and her spirits would lift. Linda’s family had already given her a second chance at life, as they had taken her in after she had been badly treated by a previous owner.

    Linda’s family were soon able to take her home, and were shown massages to give Linda to help her recovery continue. The Doctors will continue to check back in with Linda as she continues to improve.


    Help us save the lives of more animals, just like Linda. Become a monthly donor today.

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