Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. Little Cara Sucia

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Poor Cara Sucia, the sweetest little kitten with a dot on her nose, was rushed into the clinic as an emergency. Apparently, Cara was locked in a room where there was just a toxic gassing for bugs… The family had been searching for Cara and once they found her, she was already very ill.

    Cara was very lethargic and completely not herself. She wouldn’t eat, drink or play. For a lively, energetic kitten, this was very abnormal. And very bad news.

    Cara’s guardian rushed her straight to the clinic, worriedly driving as Cara lay motionless on the seat beside him. As soon as they arrived at the clinic, the Doctors were there to start Cara on supportive care. She was brought into the clinic for her treatment and would have to remain there for a few days to make sure that she improved as hoped.

    Alongside the medical care, the team ensured that Cara received a healthy dose of TLC. “We think the most important part of this treatment was the TLC. Every volunteer cuddled [Cara], so she was spoiled all day. She even came home with us to spent the night”, reported Dr. Stella.


    Everyone gave little Cara extra love and attention… even Negro!

    When Cara was doing well enough to go home, the Doctors called her guardian to give him the good news.

    “[The guardian] came right away to pick her up. A big truck stopped once again in front of the clinic door, but now Cara jumped right away on the dashboard to go back home. Quite the difference! When she came in she was just laying lethargic on one of the seats.”

    Cara was lucky to survive such a dose of poisoning, but thanks to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, she will now be able to live out her life as the happy, energetic and playful kitten that she is.


    We are there for animals that need help, just like Cara. Help us ensure that our doors stay open for these animals for years to come. Donate today.

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  2. Oreo’s visit to the clinic

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Poor Oreo came into the clinic feeling apathetic. He hadn’t wanted to eat or drink anything for a number of days but he had developed a large, swollen belly. Oreo was not looking well, and to make matters worse, the Doctors knew that some of Oreo’s brothers and sisters had already faced some difficulties with various diseases.

    The team decided to keep Oreo in the clinic for a few days to be able to progress through a number of treatments if needed. The team begun with a deworming treatment, suspecting that worms were linked to the cause of his bloated belly. Quite quickly, Oreo passed a huge number of worms… The team kept Oreo in the clinic for a few more days, ensuring that he received the proper nutrients he needed to get stronger after his illness. A few days later, Oreo was energetic and strong again, ready to go home. The Doctors returned Oreo to his family with a full belly – but this time full from food!


    It isn’t nice to see… but it helps to understand why deworming is so important! You can see why Oreo wasn’t feeling so well…


    With a belly now full of food, Oreo is ready to go home!


    Help our team continue to be there to help animals in need, just like little Oreo. Donate today

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  3. Mimi was hit by a bus…

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    As the team opened the gates to start the afternoon shift, they were unpleasantly greeted by a terrible site; A truck pulled up with a bleeding dog in the back. The dog, called Mimi, had been hit by a bus.

    Amazed that Mimi was still alive, the Doctors rushed to action to help her. Mimi was in so much pain and so scared that she had become very aggressive – trying to protect herself. The team had no choice but to sedate Mimi somewhat to be able to clinically examine her. The team establish quickly that Mimi was clinically stable – but she had sustained extensive injuries. The poor pup was covered in burn wounds from being dragged over asphalt by the bus, as well as a number of open wounds, and further skin loss and damage. The worst was a huge gaping wound on her left front leg near her elbow – a very difficult region to suture the skin due to the large amount of movement. Mimi was in terrible condition.

    The Doctors began their surgery quickly, ready to clean and treat the multiple wounds covering her entire body. The most problematic was the gaping wound on her elbow – it needed to be closed, but there was not enough skin to stitch together and with the added problem of its location, the Doctors needed to find another solution.


    “The decision was made to perform a skin graft surgery. From a donor site at the dorsal back region, a piece of skin was harvested and placed and sutured in the elbow wound.” reported the team. The team performed the surgery with meticulous care and went to great lengths ensure that Mimi would have the best chance at healing.


    Mimi woke well from the surgery and was able to go home with a nice big bandage. She was to return daily for treatment, including special care for the graft region.

    The next day, Mimi was already able to walk by herself and came into the clinic a much friendly and happier pup. Her road to recovery is still long, but the Doctors will be there to continue to support Mimi in this process.


    While Mini’s story has a happy ending, treating such avoidable cases is not a great experience for the Doctors. After this case, the team would like to take a moment to ask everyone to remember to keep your dog on a leash and help avoid such horrible accidents.



    We are there for animals when they are in pain, sick or injured. Help us continue to be there to stop suffering. Donate today.

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  4. Comic Con Success!

    Denver, USA

    The Darwin Animal Doctors’ team recently attended the Denver Comic Con to spread the word about their Humane Education focused comic, “A Piggy’s Tale”. “A Piggy’s Tale” was originally created to bring the humane education and activism message to a not typically activist crowd, and has been showing up in Comic Cons around the U.S. ever since.

    The comics where, once again, a great success with young and old, and the team sold out of boxes of novels and plush toys. With all money raised going to support the Humane Education and Veterinary support efforts of Darwin Animal Doctors, this support will make a difference to communities all around the world. One of the most heart-warming moments to see was when our team had children returning to the table after purchasing a comic at another Comic Con (some even from earlier that day!) who wanted to donate to Darwin Animal Doctors and help save the lives of animals, just like Piggy.


    Another wonderful experience of the day, and an amazing chance for sharing and education, was when the team participated in two very lively humane education panels with amazing and inspirational panelists.

    The first panel, “Tools of Adversity: Helping Students Find Themselves in the Comics Medium,” went beyond the classroom, as students spoke about how the current generation faces a lot of adversity and feels that their is not a fair representation of all people in pop-culture. One of the panelists, Mairghread Scott (https://www.imdb.com/name/nm3309878/), writes comics with the understanding that people can find themselves in comics – associating with different characters and their life events. Mairghread wrote Transformers Windblade, where she created the robot character, Starscream, as someone suffering abuse at the hands of a superior. Starscream developed a huge female following, helping those who have faced domestic violence process what they have faced. The panel discussed further how various others, especially children, can use comics to help them process adversities which they face. Interestingly, it was also discussed how comics do not always need to offer a tidy, happy ending to be of support – especially for those who have not yet found their happy ending. To be represented and to be able to associate with the characters was of most importance.


    In the second panel, “Bullying: Using Comics to Help Cope,” it was not just personal classroom bullying that was discussed, but also institutional bullying (that can be found anywhere from the workplace to online) and more extreme forms of aggression and violence. One of the panelists was Tony Medina, who wrote “I Am Alfonso Jones” (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34099859-i-am-alfonso-jones). It is a graphic novel taught in schools in Ferguson to help children there process the police shooting problem plaguing their community.


    The panel then ran an empathy demonstration and listened to different stories people told about their experiences getting bullied. One audience member spoke about her experience being bullied as a Puerto Rican adult woman, and how deeply it still affects her. One of our panelists, Dr. Katie Monnin, who is now the Director of Education at Denver Comic Con’s parent company (Pop Culture Classroom), told how she left her most recent job when her bosses outright told her they would not promote her because of her sexual orientation (hence her new role with Pop Culture Classroom).

    The team also had the wonderful experience of meeting Anne Wheaton (wife of Star Trek’s Wil Wheaton) who wrote the children’s book “Piggy and Pug”. As director of the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA for four years, Anne’s heart lies very much in the care and respect for animals. She gifted the team with a free signed copy of her book to auction off to raise funds for Darwin Animal Doctors’ work.

    The team left the Denver Comic Con feeling informed, moved and proud. Participating in the panels meant that our team could bring the importance of Humane Education to the forefront and to ensure that the topic of bullying against animals was also raised and considered. Further, the team raised money through the sales of the comics, graphic novels and plush toys and through donations that will help Darwin Animal Doctors continue spreading Humane Education around the world.



    Help our team continue to spread Humane Education around the world, helping build a compassionate and caring society. Donate today


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  5. Lucky was very lucky…

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Lucky was a puppy who scared the team and her guardians quite a lot. After a tough start to her life, she found her way to a forever-family who really looked after her – along with her many brothers and sisters. But a young puppy without a (dog) mother and with a number of other big dogs around can get sick easily…
    For Lucky, it started off with an on-and-off sickness for which she seemed not to be too effected. One day, however, Lucky’s sickness got worse and she developed severe diarrhea. Once her guardians started to see blood, everyone was scared that Lucky had been hit with Parvo Virus. (Parvo Virus is a very deadly virus that requires an extremely intensive twice-daily treatment protocol that lasts quite some time – often up to a few weeks. Once hit with Parvo, there is no guarantee that a dog will get better again.)
    The team were ready to do whatever it took to save Lucky’s life. Lucky was started on an outpatient treatment protocol together with strong sanitary precautions. Dr. Stella sat with Lucky during her first treatment, keeping the poor pup comfortable during the long process.
    Lucky for Lucky, she began feeling far better after just one day, leading the team to conclude that she likely had another viral infection and not Parvo. Lucky was able to return to her family that same day, like a different pup – full of life and energy. Both her caring guardians and the clinic team will keep monitoring Lucky over the coming weeks, and as she continues to grow, to ensure that she stays in top health.  
    Without the support of the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, Lucky’s return health would be no guarantee. Help us be there for animals in need, just like Lucky. Donate today.
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  6. Akita’s strange symptoms

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    As a vet, you are commonly faced with strange illnesses or issues that do not come straight out of a text book. Sometimes animals can present with odd conditions while otherwise being very healthy. As the dog cannot tell you much about the symptoms or history, diagnosis and treatment can become quite difficult. Akita was one of those cases.

    Akita came into the Galapagos clinic with some strange fluid filled nodules on all four of her legs. After  an initial treatment, the nodules shrank for a short period before beginning to grow again. The team tried to drain the nodules without any positive results – they just continued to grow back and then expand in size. As Akita is such a young dog, the team ruled out a number of causes for the nodules which would be more common for older dogs. Instead, the team expected an underlying genetic cause.


    Due to this suspicion, the Doctors started Akita on a different treatment; placing drains in the larger nodules and giving additional medical treatment for the underlying cause. The team continued to check up on Akita throughout the treatment, ensuring that the process ran as smoothly as possible.

    After the procedure was complete, Akita was behaving almost like a different dog. She had a huge increase in energy and was very happy to see the team – wanting to play and enjoy her freedom of movement with the removal of the large nodules. Akita still has a few smaller nodules on her paws, but with continual check ups and monitoring from the team she is expected to be able to continue to lead her life with all her puppy-like energy.


    Animals often face medical issues with no way of telling anyone that they need help. That’s where our team comes in – providing medical attention to those who need it. Help our team continue to give life back to animals around the world. Donate today.

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  7. Nina; a sweet dog who gets attacked…

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Nina was rushed into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic in the arms of her guardians. She was dripping with blood, coming from the multiple wounds that covered her body. Nina had been attached by a group of dogs and was left in a near-death state before her guardians found her and rushed her to the Galapagos clinic.

    As soon as the Doctors saw Nina, they rushed to action. Nina was inspected all over for wounds by some of team to gauge the seriousness of her state while others began treating Nina with some much needed pain medication. As the team helped Nina return to a calm and balanced state, they simultaneously prepared for a long and arduous surgery.

    The team ensure to locate each and every one of Nina’s wounds before preparing her for surgery

    Once it was safe to begin, the team anesthetized Nina and set into a long afternoon of surgery. The team were faced with patching the poor, sweet pup back together.

    During the surgery, the team could really see just how deep and damaging Nina’s wounds were. Nina had a huge number of very deep wounds and in some areas the skin had been ripped away from large areas of deeper layers. Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella had their work cut out for them. Some wounds were stitched while others needed to be left partially open to provide a natural drainage. The Doctors worked their way through the maze of lacerations…


    After her surgery, Nina woke and greeted the team with love and gratitude. The sweet dog won the hearts of the team with her kind and gentle nature and her strength in her recovery. When her guardians arrived, Nina began wagging her tail, pleased to see her family again.

    Stories like this are not as uncommon as one would like to think and form one of the reasons why education into responsible ownership is so important. Everyone who takes on the responsibility of the life of an animal also needs to understand how to properly care for that animal and bring them up to be loving and caring – not animals that might attack another. Just as in humans, the way a young animal is treated will play a big part in determining how they will act later in life.


    Help us to continue to spread Humane Education and lessen the number of attacks just like this one on Nina. Donate today.

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    We have some EXTREMELY exciting news! D’Yaria has been successfully released back into the Ecuadorian jungle; she is finally back home! This is not only a huge success for D’Yaria, but for wildlife rehabilitation in Ecuador in general. This is the first time that any release of this kind has ever happened! 

    Wildlife rehabilitation is an extremely difficult process – a balance between helping the animal become healthy enough to return to their home, while having the smallest amount of interaction possible so as to increase their chances of re-adapting. When D’Yaria was found on the brink of death after being shot 18 times, noone could imagine that she would be able to survive the incident, let alone ever be able to return to her jungle home.

    A team of veterinarians, lead by Dr. Andres Ortega, performed two incredible spinal surgeries last year to remove the embedded bullets. These two spinal surgeries where miracles in-and-of themselves; after loosing her ability to walk after being shot, D’Yaria’s improvement after the surgery was shocking. Under the guidance of her primary veterinarian, Dr. John Castillo, and a small team of veterinarians including Darwin Animal Doctors’ partnering vet, Dr. Cris Cely, D’Yaria began healing and improving in a way that noone could have even hoped for. Before too long, D’Yaria was strong and healthy once again.

    After the arrival of the tracking collar that Darwin Animal Doctors was able to provide thanks to YOUR continuing support, the greatest hope for D’Yaria became a reality – she would be able to go home.

    Plans were set in place and groups came together from all over Ecuador to help support the release of D’Yaria – a moment that would change not only the life of this beautiful jaguar and not only help protect this endangered species, but would change history.

    To give you an insider’s point of view on this momentous occasion, we took a moment to interview Dr. Cris Cely.

    DAD; It has been a long road to recovery and to the final release for D’Yaria. As someone so involved throughout this process, how do you feel now that D’Yaria is released?

    Dr. Cris; I have mixed feelings; hope, joy and fear. We can mean to do our best, but there is always a chance that something could go wrong. We can only hope that she gets to grow old and doesn’t meet evil again. But in the end, I am just extremely happy that she gets to feel freedom again; to feel the wind on her face, hear the sound of the leaves, smell the rain and see the rivers…

    DAD; Can you explain how the release day went?

    Dr. Cris; I don’t think there are quite words. I mean, everything went as planned. She just gunned out of the cage as we had all hoped!

    DAD; Can you tell us a little about why this is such a big deal, not just for D’Yaria, but for the future of wildlife rehabilitation in Ecuador?

    Dr. Cris; Well, this is the first time that something like this has ever happened. When she was found, it seemed she had no chance of survival – she was destined to die after being shot 18 times. She would never have survived if she hadn’t gotten the top quality medical care that she did right from the beginning. The medical team has made history.

    DAD; What was the biggest challenge with D’Yaria’s release?

    Dr. Cris; Everything was a challenge – anything and everything could go wrong from the very beginning. She could have not recovered at all… But she did. And now having her out there is a challenge too.

    DAD; What are you hoping to see from this point?

    Dr. Cris; I hope to see her thrive – have cubs and grow old. I hope that people will stop killing wildlife and for the Amazon to be respected.

    DAD; Anything else you would like to add?

    Dr. Cris; We need to try, even if we think we will fail. We need to do our best to save this planet.

    DAD; Thank you Dr. Cris for taking your time to meet with us. Your endless work to save D’Yaria is inspiring and your words resound with us all – We need to do our best to save this planet. Congratulations on taking such a big step forward in doing that.


    D’Yaria receives her last health checks before being transported to her release location.

    D’Yaria is ready to be transported!

    … on her way to freedom! That face!

    I think she knows what is going on. She can smell that fresh forest air!

    Last health check before freedom!!!

    The release cage is set up…. and the moment it is open, D’Yaria shoots out! She is back home!!!

    What incredible work from this amazingly impressive team. Congratulations everyone!


    Help us continue our work to save this planet; from the animals that live in it to the environments that sustain us all. Donate today.

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  9. Oso’s visit

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Poor Oso came into the clinic after he had reportedly not been eating for a few days, was limping and beginning to feel quite sick. The Doctors examined Oso’s front limbs to discover the cause of his limping. They quickly noticed that one of Oso’s legs was double its normal size and was full of edema…

    Edema refers to fluid under the skin which has a dough-like texture. If you are to press the skin, the impression of your finger will stay there for a short time. Edema can have many causes and sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what the cause is. The team continued to examine Oso to try to discover a hint to the possible underlying issue.


    1. Dr. Justin, checking biopsy slides. 2. Oso rests while the Doctors take care of her.

    The Doctors eventually found a tick under Oso’s elbow which was surrounded by inflamed tissue. The team believed the edema to be caused by a spreading infection due to the tick. After this discovery, they were able to give Oso the treatment he needed and his condition rapidly began to improve. Oso was able to go home that same day, but will return to the clinic for regular checkups over the coming days.

    Remember; it is very important to treat your dog against ticks and fleas and check them regularly for the presence of any ticks. Ticks don’t just cause local inflammation – which can become serious if left untreated – but ticks also carry diseases that can be life-threatening. Thankfully for Oso, he was able to get the treatment he needed when he needed it and is expected to make a full recovery.


    Help us be there for animals, just like Oso, when they are in their time of need. Donate today


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  10. Planting trees to Save Wild Sumatra!

    Sumatra, Indonesia

    And the work continues! Darwin Animal Doctors is continually working with and supporting various active organisations in Sumatra to help Save Wild Sumatra.

    As many of you know, a team from Darwin Animal Doctors were in Sumatra for a month at the end of last year to begin with implementing educational programs to teach local children about the importance of caring for the amazing rainforest in the region. Since then, we have continued working with schools to  improve the initial programs, and have also begun working with various other groups who are working to protect the endangered forest, and the animals that live within it.

    Recently, Darwin Animal Doctors teamed up with a wonderfully active group, Stay Wild, to run a tree planting event in Sumatra. The day was aimed at teaching children about the importance of the forest and the role that trees play. Children learned to value nature and begun to understand the immensely important role that it plays in our lives and the lives of animals around them.



    Alongside an amazing educational effort, the team planted 70 trees to help fight the fast-reducing forest. The day was a great success and the children really loved the experience.

    A huge shout-out goes to our partners at Stay Wild who put a lot of planning in to make this day such a success!




    Help us continue to spread Humane Education and to help protect environments around the world. Donate today

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