Darwin Animal Doctors



Santa Cruz, Galapagos

Early one morning, two adults came running into the Galapagos clinic carrying Canela. The poor pup had just been hit by a car and was breathing very quick. Grady started examining Canela straight away as Dr. Marijke and Dr. Daphne joined to help care for the struggling dog.

The car accident had caused the little pup’s lungs to implode, which pushed air into her chest. Air in the chest is a big problem, as it seriously impedes one’s ability to breath. When air sits in the chest cavity, there is too much pressure around the lungs in comparison to the pressure in the lungs. As the lungs inflate and deflate in a careful balance between these pressures, it becomes extremely difficult to breath. That is why Canela was breathing so quickly and superficially.

Grady and the two Doctors would have to do a thorax puncture on Canela in order to remove the air in the chest cavity and restore the pressure balance. With some care and additional research, the Doctors performed the puncture. As Dr. Marijke held Canela, Dr. Daphne performed the puncture with a large needle, and Grady pulled out the excess air via the tube and the syringe connected to the needle held by Dr. Daphne.

After the puncture, Canela was already breathing much better. However, the time of concern had not yet fully passed. As Canela was breathing so superficially for a reasonable period of time, she would have a reduced oxygen level in her blood. In order to counter this, Grady set to and specially built Canela an oxygen chamber. She put Canela in a big dog carrier crate and mostly covered it in plastic, leaving a little window open. She then connected the oxygen machine so that oxygen would flow into the carrier, making the oxygen content of the air in the carrier higher than normal. Canela stayed in the chamber for the rest of the afternoon, with regular checks from the team of Doctors. Her breathing continued to improve, until she was ready to go home in the evening, with the agreement to return for a check-up the next day.


On her return the following day, Canela was looking much better. Her breathing had restored and her strength as well. She will continue to be monitored on her improvement, but is well on the way to recovery. Thank you to the whole team in Galapagos for your quick response and ingenuity!

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