Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. Thank you Ben and Jessie

    This week, our clinic changed leadership. After 6 months of running the clinic, Ben and Jessie are off on the next adventure. Before they took off, they were able to answer a few questions from DAD:

    When asked about which case stood out to Ben the most, he asserted his favorite cases were their 2-month old puppy, Frida, who had a blood transfusion after almost collapsing from anemia, and Hera the joyful Mother of puppies that developed horrendous mastitis and had to have a mastectomy. He said, “The cases themselves were not the focus, but the animal was why they stick in my memory. It’s so rare to have two very ill animals that still come in wagging their tails with excitement at seeing you.”

    Jessie recalled all of the distemper cases that they saw and treated over the past few months. She wrote, “It’s really reiterated the importance of vaccines and education. Without education it’s hard to explain the life saving capabilities of a vaccine.” Jessie noted that she loved meeting all of the interesting veterinarians who came through, as well as getting to be a part of the community.

    Although the duo spent the majority of their time in the clinic, they were also able to explore Galapagos’ wonders. Ben loved diving on his free time. He felt, “The opportunity to see the world beneath the surface of the water is breathtaking. From manta rays to hammerheads, the Galapagos always has something new to show you.”

    Neither Ben nor Jessie have a clear plan for what’s next, but first they will enjoy the Galapagos’ Islands for a few weeks. Jessie loves being a Vet Tech and hopes to continue to work in the Tropics for the next few years. Ben is keeping his eyes on for his next project, and we hope he joins us on one of our other international projects down the line! 

    On behalf of Darwin Animal Doctors, we want to thank you, Ben and Jessie. You both arrived in the Galapagos and took ownership of the clinic right away. Not only did you focus on treating the animals, you created a beautiful atmosphere in the clinic with your days of painting. You connected with the community and took care of all the volunteers that passed through the door. Your dedication to DAD and the animals was evident, as you pushed through hard weeks of Distemper breakouts and multiple sterilization campaigns. The best photo that shows your work was during the middle of the San Cristobal Campaign in June. In one day, the team completed 50 neuters and you two managed to keep a smile on your face:

    Thank you for sharing this time with us. We hope to work with you in the future!

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    Desde 2010, Darwin Animal Doctors ha brindado atención veterinaria gratuita y de alta calidad a los animales y la comunidad de las Islas Galápagos. Nuestro objetivo original al establecer la primera clínica gratuita a tiempo completo en Galápagos, Patrimonio de la Humanidad de la UNESCO, era proteger la vida silvestre extraordinaria y endémica de estas magníficas islas conocidas como el Laboratorio Viviente de Darwin. Hemos trabajado incansablemente para lograr este objetivo, tratando a más de 20,000 pacientes para limitar humanamente el número de animales domésticos y asegurar una población sana de animales domésticos, y realizar campañas veterinarias en todas las islas habitadas de Galápagos.

    Nos hemos asociado con el Parque Nacional para apoyar el tratamiento directo de la vida silvestre cuando sea posible, trajimos equipos de laboratorio de última generación a las islas y recibimos a cientos de talentosos voluntarios de todo el mundo que aportaron una dedicación, pasión y experiencia increíbles para proporcionar veterinaria de clase mundial. cuidar a estas islas de irremplazable importancia internacional. Brindamos educación humanitaria esencial y capacitación veterinaria local, incluido un programa de becas para estudiantes veterinarios ecuatorianos.

    Desde que abrimos la clínica en 2010, hemos visto cambios profundos en Galápagos. Las islas se han transformado de un lugar donde faltaba la disponibilidad de atención veterinaria o educación humana, las iniciativas de envenenamiento mataron cruelmente a animales domésticos no deseados, y no había conciencia de la importancia de la esterilización. Ahora vemos un Galápagos con la agencia gubernamental, ABG (la Agencia de Regulación y Control de Bioseguridad en Galápagos) que lidera con éxito iniciativas para prácticas responsables de mascotas en las islas, clínicas veterinarias privadas en funcionamiento, y hay una importante conciencia de la población sobre la importancia de los veterinarios. cuidado de los animales y la participación de los jóvenes para el bienestar animal.

    Además de esto, debido a la continua importación de animales a las islas y, por lo tanto, a una demanda exponencialmente creciente, los costos de la clínica han explotado mucho más allá de cualquier presupuesto que podamos proporcionar, y por lo tanto, financieramente, ya no es la forma en que tratamos de servir a la comunidad. A medida que nos acercamos a la finalización de nuestro décimo año de operaciones, nos enorgullece haber servido a la comunidad y los animales de Galápagos, pero no continuaremos brindando servicios veterinarios como clínica en 2020.

    Nos gustaría agradecer a nuestros socios, campeones locales, veterinarios y voluntarios talentosos e ingeniosos que viajaron de todo el planeta para donar su tiempo, experiencia y pasión para hacer de la última década un éxito y salvar tantas vidas.

    Darwin sigue comprometido con la protección de Galápagos a través de otros programas que ofrecemos en todo el mundo, que incluyen educación humanitaria, apoyo a la esterilización y vacunación, capacitación profesional para maestros y rescatadores de vida silvestre, capacitación en investigación científica para aumentar las habilidades locales de ciencias de la conservación y desarrollo juvenil.

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    Since 2010, Darwin Animal Doctors has provided free, high quality veterinary care to the animals and community of the Galapagos Islands. Our original goal in establishing the first, full-time free clinic in Galapagos UNESCO World Heritage Site was to protect the extraordinary and endemic wildlife of these magnificent islands known as Darwin’s Living Laboratory. We have worked tirelessly to achieve this goal, treating over 20,000 patients to humanely limit the numbers of domestic animals and ensure a healthy domestic animal population, and run veterinary campaigns on all the inhabited islands of the Galapagos. 

    We have partnered with the National Park to support the direct treatment of wildlife when possible, brought state of the art laboratory equipment to the islands and welcomed hundreds of talented volunteers from around the world who brought incredible dedication, passion and expertise to providing world class veterinary care to these islands of irreplaceable international importance.  We have provided essential humane education and local veterinary training including a scholarship program for Ecuadorian veterinary students.

    Since opening the clinic in 2010, we have seen profound changes within the Galapagos. The islands have transformed from a place where the availability of veterinary care or humane education was lacking, poisoning initiatives cruelly killed unwanted domestic animals, and there was no awareness of the importance of sterilization. We now see a Galapagos with the government agency, ABG (the Agency of Regulation and Control of Biosecurity in Galapagos) successfully leading initiatives for responsible pet practices across the islands, private veterinary clinics running, and there is significant population awareness of the importance of veterinary care for animals and youth led involvement for animal welfare.

    On top of this, due to continue importation of animals to the islands and thus exponentially growing demand, clinic costs have exploded far beyond any budget we could possibly provide, and thus, financially, it cannot be the way we try to serve the community anymore. As we near the completion of our 10th year of operations, we have been proud to have served the Galapagos community and animals, but will not be continuing to provide veterinary services as a clinic into 2020.

    We would like to thank our partners, local champions, talented and resourceful veterinarians and volunteers who traveled from around the planet to donate their time, expertise and passion to make the last decade such a success, and saving so many lives.

    Darwin remains committed to protecting the Galapagos through other programs that we offer worldwide including humane education, sterilization and vaccination support, professional training for teachers and wildlife rescuers, scientific research training to increase local conservation science skills, and youth development.

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  4. Frida

    At the end of June, two-month old Frida was brought into the clinic very fragile and pale. Her owners were so diligent with her and upon examination she had a PCV of only 7% (the amount of red blood cells in your blood – normal is 28-40%- she was incredibly anemic).

    She was admitted immediately and received a blood transfusion, borrowed from a friend of hers. Little Frida was the youngest recipient of a blood transfusion at our clinic.

    10 days later, her anemia had corrected to 25%, she was eating, playing, and her symptoms were resolving. Her owners were taking great care of her!!

    Frida recently came back into the clinic to check up, and what a difference we saw! She transformed from being on the edge of collapse to, now, doubling in weight and playing with her sibling! She is a champion in our eyes!!

    To help us continue to treat patients like Frida, consider making a contribution to Darwin Animal Doctors today!

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  5. Maya and Charlie

    Maya came into us suffering from Ehrlichia (tick fever). This is a very common issue we face here in the Galapagos. Maya’s owner brought her in, and a good thing she did because we found that Maya was incredibly anaemic and suffering from a lot of other problems as a result of the chronic infection, including a septic joint and skin lesions.

    Once we realized the issue, Claudia brought down her other dog, Charlie, to save the day! Charlie donated his blood to his friend, Maya.

    Both were absolutely golden in the clinic and the transfusion was a success.

    Maya is still in the clinic recovering, she has a long road ahead of her but she is still here after the blood transfusion and will not stop fighting!

  6. Sweet Peggy

    This past month, the practice had a terrible week for emergencies. In only 3 days we had 6 emergencies; the majority were unfortunately hit by cars. However, out of this week came one particular patient that has warmed all of us at the clinic: meet Peggy!

    She arrived at 8 pm on a weekday in a lot of pain and severe shock from a car hit. The team kicked into gear and she was immediately placed on a drip with a combination of pain relief and muscle relaxants so we could examine the damage.

    Peggy stabilized over the evening and we were able to identify that there was one major concern: she had a very swollen right back leg that was very painful. We suspected she had a fracture.

    The next day, the care takers of Peggy and our team discussed a plan forward. We needed to know more information and agreed that an x-ray of the leg would provide us with exactly that. Here on the Galapagos, our diagnostic equipment is very limited so we found a local clinic where we could take Peggy for some imaging.

    Rightfully so, we found a very impressive femoral fracture. Poor girl!

    Without much surgical equipment to correct this fracture, we decided to anaesthetize Peggy and tried to manipulate the bone into the right position and then splinted the leg with a special type of bandage called a ‘Robert Jones’ Bandage.

    Every 5 days Peggy returned to get this large bandage changed, and after 3 weeks the fracture had stabilized and she was able to use it again.

    Peggy has a long way to go yet before the leg will work the way she needs it to, but the fact that she has made it this far is what our team are delighted in!

    Our clinic is able to treat animals such as Peggy due to your continued support. Consider contributing today!!

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  7. Colorado’s Recovery

    Meet Colorado, a bright and energetic 7 year old, who turned up at the practice as an emergency last month. He had been run over by a car that left the lower part of his back right leg mangled and completely broken. There was no way his leg could be saved.

    The owners wanted to do their best for him and we all decided together that amputating the limb gave him the best chance of a good quality of life. And so, with careful preparation, Colorado underwent surgery that same day.

    After 3 hours under anaesthetic, Colorado eventually woke up to find the whole team working around him to make sure he was calm and ready to acknowledge what had happened. The team were thrilled to see that even that evening he was looking to get up. After another day in practice he returned home, coming in for regular health and post-op checks.

    As was a risk that we anticipated, Colorado did develop a bed sore that started to ooze and become incredibly sore. With fantastic commitment from both the DAD team and the owners, who themselves nursed him at home, Colorado’s wounds have since healed up perfectly. He came in for his last check yesterday.

    Only 18 days after such a life changing operation, Colorado is now running around at home, playing with the other dogs, and all the wounds and sores have since healed.

    These particular cases are what the DAD team out here strive to achieve, and we are incredibly proud of how Colorado has faced his biggest challenge.

    If you enjoyed reading about Colorado’s Story, please consider making a small contribution to Darwin Animal Doctors. We are completing life-saving surgeries every day due to your continual support.

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  8. Goodbye Kate and Carmen!

    As of this last week, Carmen and Kate have been our lead veterinarians in the clinic. Carmen has run the clinic for a total of two years over a three-and-a-half-year period. Kate joined her for the past six months. They have left this clinic in good hands, with Ben Howitt. Before they took off, we asked them to give us a little interview about their experiences and their future plans.

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    What was your most impactful case during your time at the clinic?

    We’ve had a lot of interesting medical and surgical cases but the one that touched us, and the volunteers the most, was Frankie. She was brought to us after being hit by a car and abandoned.  She had a crushed paw and fractured pelvis and was close to death from the resulting infection. After her amputation surgery she stayed in the clinic for 6 weeks while her pelvis healed. We all got very attached to having her here in the clinic to cuddle and play with every day. She was adopted by a wonderful new family in Quito and we are so proud to be a part of her happy adoption story!

    To read about Frankie’s adoption story, click here!


    What was the best part of your experience in the Galapagos outside of the clinic?

    Diving! We both love to dive, so in our limited time away from the clinic we got in the water as much as we could. We were lucky enough to go on a dive cruise to Darwin and Wolf, small uninhabited northern islands. We go to see lots of beautiful creatures but our favorites were hammerhead sharks, manta rays, dolphins, orcas, and whalesharks!

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    Where are you going next?

    First, we are first going home to visit our family and friends. Then we will work over the summer: Carmen in South Africa at a Cheetah Park, and Kate in emergency medicine in the States. What we are most excited about is moving to Grenada, one of the Spice Islands in the Caribbean, in September to be the new head vets for the Grenada SPCA. We will get to continue with our mission of helping animals in underserved areas by providing the best veterinary care possible.


    Do you think you will come back to work with DAD?

    Who knows where life will take us next?? But we will always hold the DAD Clinic close in our hearts for the many happy memories we have here and most importantly, introducing us to each other!

    From everyone at DAD, we want to thank you, Carmen and Kate, for your hard work at the clinic. Your dedication was evident as you put in long hours, especially during the parvo-outbreak, and helped train many veterinarians and students that came through the clinic. You touched the lives of many animals and people that you encountered during your time in the Galapagos. It has been an honor to work alongside of you.  Good luck on your next adventures and enjoy your vacation! You deserve it!

  9. Frankie Found a Home!

    Frankie entered into our lives back in January. She had been found on the side of the road and was badly injured. Her back leg had been crushed in an accident and without treatment, became infected. Ros Cameron brought her into the clinic and the veterinarians at the clinic took one look at Frankie’s freckled face and knew they would do whatever they could to help.

    Dr. Carmen took her to surgery to remove the leg and we started her on antibiotics. She quickly became comfortable at the clinic and her infection subsided.

    Frankie lived with us at the clinic, and her true personality came out. She turned out to be a sweet playful girl who completely won our hearts.

    Frankie was part of our family. She even got to celebrate Kate’s birthday!!!

    Although we loved having her with us, we were actively looking for a permanent home for our girl. Jackie Rodriguez, a great friend of the clinic, came to visit Frankie daily and was the one who found Frankie’s future family. She even flew to Quito to meet them! We had a big send off for Frankie at the airport.

    Frankie is now with her forever home, with the Salazar-Mejia family. This is new mother, Jessica Mejia, father, Juan Salazar, her human siblings, and her dog-sister, Gala.


    She is happy, healthy, and loves to play at the dog park!

    We want to thank Ros Cameron, who brought Frankie into the clinic, all our veterinarians and volunteers who helped with Frankie’s care at the clinic, Jackie Rodriguez who was a great friend to Frankie and found her a home, and the Salazar-Mejia family, who opened their hearts and home to Frankie. 

    We also want to thank you, our supporters, who allow us to continue our work providing free veterinary care to those who need it most. Please consider making a contribution to Darwin Animal Doctors today!

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  10. Poor Little Mirri

    Mirri, a four month old kitten, suffered a tough week. A child had placed a hair tie around one of Mirri’s legs right before she went missing for three days. Upon her return, her owners noticed she could not walk on her front leg. Her blood supply had been cut off by the hair tie.

    They brough Mirri into Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic. Our veterinarians did everything they could to save the paw, however the hair tie was on for too long. The paw had no blood flow and was severely infected. The best option for Mirri was to amputate.

    Our talented vets did an amazing job on the amputation, and Mirri returned later to remove her sutures. She is healing great and getting used to running around on her three legs.

    Consider contributing to Darwin Animal Doctors today so we can continue to treat animals, such as Mirri!!



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