Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. Oso

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    It was a busy Wednesday morning; Dr. Marijke and Dr. Daphne were still finishing the last sterilization surgery and there were still many people outside waiting to be helped. Amongst those waiting, were two families; a father holding his baby, and his two other children each holding a puppy in their arms, with the mother of the puppies waiting beside them.

    The family had come in for deparasite treatment for each of their dogs, and so as per usual procedure, Sacha was preparing the files for the patients and getting their history before one of the veterinarians was able to come out and see them.  When weighting Oso, one of the puppies, Sacha noticed that the puppy didn’t really want to stand up.  The pup’s temperature and gums looked normal and the family reported nothing in the history that may have caused any issue. Sacha reported the incident to the Dr. Daphne who then came out to check on the pup.

    The little girl had now laid Oso down on the ground, and the pup would not stand at all. Dr. Daphne took the little pup inside, who was now breathing superficially and very lethargic. Dr. Daphne put Oso on an IV line and fed him some puppy milk to help with his lethargy. After a few hours, Oso was able to hold his own head up, but was still not able to stand.

    The Doctors believed Oso to have a head injury, but the family were adamant that nothing could have caused that. While observing the young children holding the puppies, the veterinarians had noticed that they were not particularly careful in the manner in which they held them, and wondered if Oso may have been dropped at one point. However, the question still remained why Oso was not able to stand. The Doctors had tried everything – from removing the IV catheter, to supporting his weight, but the little pup would not stand.

    When the family returned that afternoon, Dr. Marijke began to ask them some questions once again, trying to work out what could have happened to cause the symptoms. After a few more questions, the family told Dr. Marijke that Oso may have fallen from a motorbike.

    Dr. Marijke referred the information to the rest of the team and the Doctors determined that this would explain his symptoms – poor Oso had a head injury from the fall, as well as a dislocated shoulder. The little pup would have to stay in the clinic to be monitored for the next few days.

    “Oso is really sweet and cute. He doesn’t like being alone, he prefers being around people. So instead of having his spot further in the back he is now laying next to my desk and loves to lay at my feet.” reported Sacha.

    Oso was given the close care and attention he needed until he was fully recovered from the incident. He was even allowed to sleep in Myra’s bed the last two nights, after being heard crying during the evening. He has now returned to his family, a happy, healthy little pup.

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  2. Princessa

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One Tuesday morning, just as the Doctors had stabilized an emergency hit-by-car case, the team were about to sit and catch their breath as the clinic gates burst open and in came an entire family carrying their dog. Dr. Daphne quickly noticed that one of the dog’s hind legs was broken, and came to the family’s assistance.

    With the family in tears, explaining how Princessa had been hit by a car and had injured her leg, Dr. Daphne checked the dog over for any other issues. While the broken leg was a concern, after being hit by a car, a dog can have many other injuries which are less obvious – but more life threatening. As mother, father, grandparents, auntie and children continued to express concern over the leg, Dr. Daphne discovered that the dog was also slipping deeper into shock from the car accident and was breathing very rapidly. While the leg was not in a good position, it was not bleeding, and so stopping Princessa slipping further into shock was the first priority.

    Dr. Daphne and Dr. Marijke rushed Princessa inside in order to stabilize her before dealing with the broken leg. The Doctors put Princessa on an IV line to give her some fluids and monitored her as she slowly recovered from the shock.

    After some time Princessa was stable enough to start working on her leg. The Doctors needed to set Princessa’s leg into place by first re-positioning it, and then holding in the corrected position with a cast. The whole team would be needed for the procedure; Grady monitored the anesthetics while Dr. Daphne first wrapped the leg in a special wrapping and gauze. Then Dr Daphne and Sacha folded the very thin casting material to be thicker and thereby strong enough to support Princessa’s leg. Once the casting was ready, Dr. Daphne and Sacha began applying it. The team worked together brilliantly, as each team member supported the leg, moved or applied casting, and monitored poor Princessa. Once the casting was dried and cooled, the final touches were added, and Princessa came out with a beautiful pick cast.


    As the time came for Princessa to be picked up, her whole worried family – mother, father, auntie, grandparents and children – arrived to pick their beloved dog up. The family waited and patiently listened as they were explained the pain medications that Princessa would need to be administered over the coming days. Princessa, who was already looking much better, then went home with her family looking pretty in pink.

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  3. Max

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Early one Monday morning, as the team were just about to sit down to breakfast, a man entered the clinic with his dog, Max. Having come from a farm and usually treating his own animals, Max’s guardian had given the pup an antibiotic injection in the gluteus muscle about a week earlier.

    While not entirely sure the previous issue that Max had, the guardian, affectionately known as “The Cowboy”, reported that Max’s initial issue had disappeared since the injection. However, he now had a new problem. Max had been limping since the injection and was not able to put his paw on the ground.

    Unfortunately, while administering the antibiotic injection, the Cowboy had hit a nerve, causing significant damage. It takes a long time for nerves to heal – if at all – and there is no medicine which can help the process. This meant that for Max, the team would just have to wait, hope and see if the nerve would heal. To make sure that during this time Max wouldn’t further injure himself by dragging his paw on the ground, and to help the healing process as much as possible, Dr. Marijke, Grady and Dr. Daphne put their heads together to develop Max a specialized splint.


    The Doctors were able to build and apply a unique splint so that Max could walk, and not damage his leg any further. The team will continue to monitor Max and hope that he will improve.

    Please remember, that while instructions for administrations or uses of medications may seem simple, there are often complicated side effects and considerations that must be taken into account. Whenever possible, please only have a medically trained professional administer medications to your animals.

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  4. Canela

    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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  5. At Los Angeles Veg Fest 2017

    Van Nuys, CA

    Last Sunday, Darwin Animal Doctors attended LA Veg Fest 2017 and had an absolute blast! Our representatives connected with hundreds of caring, compassionate people who believed in our cause to provide free veterinary care services and humane education programs worldwide. From educators to advocates, Darwin Animal Doctors informed everyone we spoke to about our life-saving work carried out across the globe. We gathered support to continue serving animals in need and spread the word about how supporters could volunteer their time, locally and abroad.

    A huge heartfelt THANK YOU to all the people who donated to Darwin Animal Doctors on Sunday and to Lisa MacMillan, the Towards Freedom team and everyone at LA Veg Fest 2017 for putting on such an incredible event full of compassion and action for the animals. We look forward to attending next year!

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  6. Cooper

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One evening, while the Doctors were sitting and having dinner, a neighbour came into the clinic, calling for a veterinarian. The Doctors all stopped what they were doing and ran downstairs to help.

    Cooper had a lump in his throat, a small wound on his face and was panting very badly. The poor pup had been hit by a car. The lump in his throat had been there some time, the Doctors soon discovered, but Cooper’s face needed some attention.


    Dr Daphne and the team cleaned the wounds on Cooper’s face, and stitched up those that needed some extra help healing. He was given some antibiotics and pain killers as the team stayed by his side, making sure that he would soon relax and his breathing would return to normal. A little while later, Cooper had calmed down after the shock from his accident passed, and the little pup was able to go home.


    Dr Daphne asked Cooper’s family to please return in a few days so that the team could make sure he was healing well.

    Cooper has since returned and is looking much better. His face has cleared up nicely and the little pup is spritely and back to normal!


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  7. School Kids in the clinic!

    Recently, the clinic had a visit from a local summer school. These students had been learning English and, recently, the topic was on animals. The teacher contacted the clinic to see if the class might be able to come by to visualise and practice what they had learned in recent weeks. The Darwin Animal Doctors team savour every opportunity to interact with local children and readily accepted.


    When the class arrived, the Doctors had ready an exciting day. The students learned a lot about the clinic and what the Doctors do there, were able to experience and learn about what a health check on a dog is like, learned about how to look after their own pets and then challenged their knowledge with a giant board game.


    After an information filled morning, each student was given a copy of “A Piggy’s Tale” (part of our Humane Education curriculum) to read about the power of empathy to all creatures.


    Thank you to the amazing students and teachers that were involved, and also to all the Darwin Animal Doctors team who prepared such an interesting and informative day.

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  8. Tigre

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Tigre came into the clinic one evening reportedly having not eaten for two weeks. The owners told the clinic that Tigre had not only not been eating, but had since started trying to vomit but had seemed unable to. The family had been to another vet the day before and Tigre was given some milk with medication. After having still not improved, the family were concerned and brought Tigre into the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic.

    Tigre was in terrible condition. He was very pale and totally emaciated, looking as if he was wasting away in front of the Doctors’ eyes. The Doctors took some blood to run a test, and put Tigre on an IV line to give him some fluids and sugars. With the test returning positive for Ehrlichia (a type of tick borne disease), Dr Daphne decided to keep Tigre in the clinic to give him the close care and attention he would need.


    Dr Daphne and the team spent a lot of time with poor Tigre, trying to encourage him to eat. The skinny puppy continued refusing to eat for the first days, laying in the corner, lethargic and weak. His urine was very orange and the poor pup could hardly make it outside to pee. The Doctors continued treating Tigre, giving him all the care and attention possible to encourage the sickly pup to eat. Alongside the Doctors love, Tigre had a very caring family, who came every day to visit him, willing the pup to get better.

    Tigre remained on the IV line, and was given a nausea feeding tube so that Tigre would have at least some food in his stomach.


    About four days after his arrival to the clinic, Tigre finally had the desire to eat a small amount of soaked puppy food, hand fed to him on a spoon. The Doctors and Tigre’s family were elated! After that, Tigre slowly began to eat more and more food until finally, a week after coming to the clinic, Tigre was happily eating from a bowl.

    That day, Tigre’s loving family were finally able to bring him back home. Tigre is now well on the way to recovery, but will continue to return to the clinic for check-ups so that he can be regularly monitored by the Darwin Animal Doctors team.

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  9. Floripondia

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Floripondia was another hit by car case… She came into the clinic in a lot of pain after the accident, with a big wound on the inside of her left back leg, a large cut on her tail and a number of smaller cuts on her hip.

    Dr Daphne came to the little pup’s aid immediately, sensing her pain and urgency of treatment. Floripondia was sedated and Dr Daphne set too on reconnecting the puzzle of skin pieces left by the accident. After some time, Dr Daphne had managed to close up each wound and inserted a drain to help excess fluids escape the wound while it heals. Unfortunately, the wound on Floripondia’s tail was so large that there was nothing Dr Daphne could do but amputate the end of the tail in order to save the rest.


    Floripondia was able to go home that afternoon with instructions to come back for a recheck in four days. Four days later, when the family returned with Floripondia, her wounds were already looking much better and Dr Daphne was able to remove the drain. The little pup will require some more monitoring over the next days, but is well on her way to recovery.


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  10. At the APHE Conference

    This month, both our Educational Coordinator, Michelle Green, and our head veterinarian, Dr Jochem Lastdrager, attended the APHE Conference in Seattle. The conference was an amazing opportunity to see the work of various Humane Educators from around the country, and meet some of the most dedicated workers in the Humane Education world.

    With multiple lectures per day, our team we able to gain new ideas, learn from some interesting insights and hear about the difficulties facing Humane Educators in the US. As an organisation who puts education at our forefront, it was great to also be able to present our own work, including our full year curriculum and our Piggy Tales Graphic novel, at our presenter table.

    An incredibly well run and educational event, the APHE conference was a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with a large number of Humane Educators. Thank you to all of those who made this event possible, who shared their knowledge and who made this week fun!

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