Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. Pandora’s successful transfusion

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Pandora is a young German shepherd dog who’s carer brought her into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic seeking help, because her nose started bleeding. Her carer had though the the bleeding would stop, but in the end, it had continued for two days straight. There are few things that could cause unstoppable bleeding like this including intoxication, infection or a genetic disorder. The owner agreed that he has seen some ticks on Pandora lately, which led the team of Doctors to suspect an infection with Ehrlichia, which is quite a common problem in Galapagos.

    Pandora was hospitalized, and the Doctors drew some blood from her to run a few tests.  The blood test revealed some scary results; the levels of red and white blood cells were very low, and her platelet count was exceptionally low, which is why Pandora couldn’t stop bleeding. The microscopic examination of blood sample then revealed signs of the Ehrlichia infection. Pandora was in a bad state.

    The Doctors gave her the needed medication right away, but it takes quite some time to take effect. With Pandora’s nose still bleeding, the Doctors had to do something, and fast, to save Pandora’s life. The only solution was to give Pandora a blood transfusion.

    Pandora’s guardian wanted to do all he could to save her life, and immediately started searching for a donor. Unfortunately, none of the donors he found were big enough to give Pandora enough blood, but the Doctors were running out of time and needed to do something. In the end, they decided to use two donors at once to be able to give Pandora a sufficient amount.

    Such a delicate procedure would take all hands on deck. Dr. Filip let the blood collection team working on the first donor, while Dr. Alejo lead the team working on the second. The teams required four people each; one person was needed to hold the donor dog and keep them calm and relaxed during the procedure, another inserted the catheter, while a third drew blood into the syringe, and a fourth would mix the blood into anti-coagulant mixture. It was a very difficult and long procedure, but in the end enough blood was collected to give Pandora a fighting chance.


    Pandora was given the blood right away and, luckily, showed no adverse reactions to the transfusion. After a few hours, the procedure was complete and Pandora was stable enough to be sent home to be in a calm and familiar place.

    The next morning, Pandora came back with exciting news; Pandora was feeling much better and the bleeding from her nose had stopped completely! Pandora was given a check-up by one of the Doctors who was pleased with the results. She was then sent home with medication to treat Ehrlichia and scheduled another recheck for the day after.

    When Pandora returned again, she was looking better again. There were still no signs of bleeding, and her carer had said that she was even wanting to eat and play.


    “This is a great achievement, because blood transfusions are quite rarely used and even when used, the animals hardly ever make it out alive. We are very happy that Pandora’s case is a successful one. For that we have to thank all of our volunteers for their help and let’s also not forget the blood donor dogs, because they are the true heroes.” Reported back one of our volunteers.

    It is a near miracle that Pandora is still alive. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers, the caring guardian, and the amazing donor dogs, Pandora will continue to lead a happy, joyous life.

    Help us be there for more dogs, just like Pandora. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  2. Simba’s strength

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One afternoon in the Galapagos, a little puppy was brought in by his family as he had started becoming very lethargic and stopped drinking milk from his mother. The little pup had two other siblings, one of whom had already passed away. The Doctors knew that they would have to react quickly and carefully to save this little pup.

    He was immediately hospitalized, and started on an aggressive therapy to treat the suspected infection. The therapy included a variety of medications to protect his gastrointestinal tract, a combination of antibiotics, and some supportive vitamins. The little pup was closely monitored and was fed frequently by our volunteers to ensure he had everything it needed to get better. To make matters worse, the poor pup was also infested with fleas and the Doctors had to treat this problem as well.


    Simba, on his first visit – too lethargic to even lift his head. After a few days, he was already looking much better.

    Within a day, the little pup was already looking much stronger, and was able to go home. He still needed to return twice a day to get his IV medication, but his loving guardian was dedicated to the treatment, and the pup was improving every day.

    In the end, the pup’s family was so pleased to watch the little pup’s health improve, that they asked the Doctors to choose a name for him. The Doctors named him Simba.


    Simba continued to return for treatment twice daily. Eventually, he was finally strong enough to stand and walk around.

    Soon enough, Simba was well enough to be sent home with only pills, not having to come back to the clinic for daily IV treatment. Soon he will return to the clinic for another deparasite/deworming treatment and, once his health is fully restored and he is a little older, he will also be sterilized.

    Help us save more lives, just like that of Simba. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  3. Muñeco

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Just as the Galapagos team had finished up for the morning and were heading out for their lunch break, an emergency arrived at the gates. Muñeco, a three year old Husky, had been chewing on a bone; one that was small enough that he had tried to swallow it.  The bone was now lodged in his throat, blocking his airway and giving him trouble breathing. The bone had also begun to aggravate Muñeco’s throat, and the team could see blood seeping out of his mouth. Poor Muñeco needed help immediately.

    The team put the Husky under anaesthesia so that they could properly examine and remove the bone, without risk of Muñeco moving, and causing more damage to his delicate airway. Dr. Alejo, with the help of Dr. Natasja and Julia, examined the pup’s throat. Sure enough, they saw the culprit – a bone was lodged in his esophagus. The bone had many sharp edges, and the team had to be extremely careful to remove the bone delicately, without damaging the tissue any further.

    “As soon as it was removed, we could see that Muñeco started breathing normally. Everybody was relieved!” reported back one of our volunteers.

    The bone had still caused some lesions to the esophagus, which will take some time to heal. The team are hopeful that Muñeco will make a full recovery, and have no further issues from the damage to his esophagus. But they also took this opportunity to remind us all just how dangerous feeding small bones to your dogs and cats is;

    “Unfortunately this is a case we see quite frequently. Lots of owners are not aware of the risk feeding bones. Dogs struggle with swallowing them and most of the time they get stuck in their throats which can end fatally.”

    Please remember to be careful when feeding your dogs and cats bones; make sure that they are big enough that they will not try to swallow the bone.


    Luckily for Muñeco, the Darwin Animal Doctors team was there to help when things went terribly wrong. Help us be there for animals all over the world; Become a monthly donor today.

    Leave a Comment
  4. Africa returns…

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Africa has had quite a rough last few months. After having a C-section at the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic due to a distressing pregnancy, she has recently returned again. While she healed very well from her c-section, she had developed a skin condition that was progressively worsening. If you remember, Africa had come into the Darwin clinic many times before to have this same condition treated. Likely the stress and struggle of the pregnancy weakened Africa’s immune system enough, that the condition returned.

    “The skin was inflamed, swollen, red and so damaged, that the flesh could be seen. Even her eyes already had a discharge. It must have been a very painful condition” reported our veterinary team.


    Africa; on her first visit

    The Doctors did a skin test on Africa, just to be sure they knew what they were dealing with. Under the microscope, they found Demodex – a skin parasite. She likely had a secondary skin infection as well, which would have jined one the Demodex took hold.

    “We started treating Africa with antibiotics and also gave her Bravecto – the strongest and best working anti-ectoparasitic medication we have here in the clinic. We told the owner to come back after two weeks to check how the condition was improving.”

    After two weeks, the family returned. And the progress was better than expected.


    Africa; on her second visit

    “The infection seemed to have all but disappeared, and there was a significant progress in the healing of Africa’s skin. The skin was calmer, no more opened flesh, no eye discharge.  And most importantly – no scratching – which meant it was no longer painful and itchy. There were still crusts on her face, so it still needed quite some time to heal completely.”

    Another recheck was scheduled for another few weeks later. Upon her return, Africa looked like a new dog. Her skin had cleared up, and her hair had almost completely regrown. Only at close inspection could one of the old lesions still just be seen. Her recovery was amazing.

    Africa; on her third visit.What a difference!

    During her treatment process, Alita, one of Africa’s puppies came into the clinic with hair loss and dermatitis issues on her head and around her eyes. The team quickly suspected Demodex as it can easily transfer between a mother and her puppies. Just to be sure, the Doctors tested Alita’s skin as well, and it revealed exactly what the team expected. Alita was also treated alongside her mother, and made an equally drastic recovery.


    Help ensure that all animals, just like Africa and Alita, have access to veterinary care. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  5. Lourdes and the rubber band

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Lourdes came to the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic with a wound on his right front paw. The team of Doctors tried to examine the wound, but the poor pup was so frightened that he quickly became highly agitated and was trying to bite the Doctors. The family were not able to muzzle Lourdes and his behavior continued to escalate. Instead of stressing the poor pup any more, the team of Doctors provided the family with antibiotics and medication to help with the pain. They asked the family to give the medication to the dog once he relaxed and to bring him back into the clinic the next day so the team could try, once again, to examine the wound.

    The family and Lourdes returned several days later. The wound was still present, and had seemed to have moved from the back to the front of his paw. The Doctors suspected that something was constricting the limb, and causing damage throughout the paw. Knowing how fearful Lourdes was and how quickly he escalated the previous visit, the team sedated him immediately, allowing them to closely examine the wound.

    “As we suspected, we found a rubber band that someone put on the leg and it was already cutting deep into the flesh” reported one of our Doctors onsite.

    The team understood very quickly why Lourdes had become so nervous so quickly; he was in a lot of pain. While Lourdes was still sedated, Dr. Filip quickly and carefully removed the band, washed the wound thoroughly and closed it with few stitches.


    “With cases like this, prolonged constriction by elastic bands limits blood flow and after some time causes necrosis of the paw. Lourdes was very lucky, because despite having his paw constricted for probably close to two weeks, he only had deep and bleeding wounds. If the paw was necrotic, we would have had to amputate the leg. In this case though, the prognosis is very good and the wound is expected to heal completely”.

    Thankfully for this dog, the Darwin Animal Doctors team were there to look after him, and save his leg before the constriction progressed to necrosis. The team will keep an eye on Lourdes during the healing process, but he is expected to have a full recovery.

    Although this was a simple treatment, it was also a simple act that caused Lourdes so much pain and discomfort. If this injury was left untreated, the damaged to Lourdes right front paw could have been much worse.

    We are there for all animals when they need help. Help us, help them. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  6. Pulpa and her pups

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Pulpa was brought into the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic by friends of her family. They believed she was having trouble giving birth. Pulpa seemed as though she was in pain; she was trying to push but had not yet given birth to any puppies.

    “Since complications in birth are quite common and possess a risk both to life of puppies and the mother, we decided to hospitalize Pulpa” the Doctors stated.

    Pulpa was given an IV catheter and was given some supportive medication. She was restless in the clinic, wanting to walk around and move. But she had still not given birth, and the Doctors could not feel a puppy in the birth canal.

    “When dogs give birth, it takes some time for them to prepare for the process. Nervousness and contractions can appear often.”

    After few hours in the clinic, there was finally some good news. Pulpa gave birth to her first puppy, and the puppy was healthy and doing well. A few moments later, the second puppy was out, also alive and healthy. Over the next few hours, Pulpa gave birth to two more puppies, both healthy and happy. The Doctors could feel that Pulpa still had at least one more puppy to give birth to, but as she was doing so unassisted and naturally so far, they decided to send her home where she would be most calm and relaxed.


    “The best place for her to give birth and care for her puppies would be at home, a place she knows, where she can be calm and not stressed about the hospital environment.”

    So Pulpa went home, and the Doctors heard that a fifth puppy was born, happy and healthy at home. The family were so grateful for the support of the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, that they invited them out to their restaurant Lemon & Coffee for a wonderful ‘thank you’ dinner.



    Help us in our aim to bring veterinary care to animals all over the world. Donate today.




    Leave a Comment
  7. Tomas and his tumor

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    A worried guardian brought Tomas to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic as there was a lump growing out of his left lower eyelid. The lump was not extremely large, but it was in a sensitive and delicate location. After a further examination, the Doctors concluded that it could potentially be a tumor. Despite Tomas only being three years old, he would have to undergo surgery to remove the potentially life-threatening tumor on his eye lid.


    Tomas was scheduled for surgery a few days later. Dr. Filip, with the support of Dominika, performed the sensitive surgery. The team skillfully removed the tumor, needing only a tiny incision, and leaving Tomas with only one small stitch. After the lump’s removal, the team inspected a sample under a microscope to determine its origin.

    “It revealed an increased number of cells with black pigment in them. These cells are called melanocytes so the conclusion was that the lump was actually a tiny melanocytic tumour. These tumours are generally benign and this one didn’t show signs of malignity. Therefore, Tomas has a good prognosis and we expect the tumour not to come back. His eyelid looked very nice after the surgery and should heal quickly” reported the Doctors.

    Thankfully, Tomas is expected to make a full recovery, and shouldn’t expect to see any other nasty tumors. His eyelid should also heal completely, leaving Tomas to continue his long, happy life.





    Help us protect animals all around the world. Donate today.


    Leave a Comment
  8. Luna and her life-and-death situation

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    When Luna came to the Darwin Animal Doctors, she was apparently in labor for three days without giving birth to even one kitten. Luna was in a terrible condition and the Doctors feared for the poor cat’s life. Luna was hospitalized, given intravenous fluids, and started on various treatments. Despite all the care Luna received, and some improvement in her condition, she still had not given birth to even one kitten. The Doctors had to make a difficult decision. Luna needed to have a C-section. Waiting any longer to operate would lead to a rapid decline in her health and likely lead to her death. However, surgery was also extremely risky for a cat in such a weakened condition.

    The Doctors knew that it was now or never. Luna needed surgery.

    The whole team were called together to help in this life-and-death operation. Dr. Alejo and Jenna conducted the surgery, while Jenice took care of the anesthesia and Chris assisted in the operating room. Dominika, Max, and Dr. Filip waited on-hand, ready to resuscitate the newborn kittens.

    Luna’s uterus was huge, and filled with five kittens in total. Dr. Alejo began removing them one by one, passing them to the resuscitation team. Two were stillborn and had no chance at resuscitation; another two kittens, while weak and not breathing, still had a fighting chance. The team gave the kittens every chance possible: rubbing, warming, drying, heating and medicating the kittens to help them to start breathing. Amazingly, after some intensive care, the two kittens finally took their first breaths.

    The fifth kitten was the cause of Luna’s distress, having developed malformed in the uterus died in the uterus. When the Luna tried to birth, this kitten blocked the birth passage for the other kittens.


    While the team saved two kittens, they were not done yet. Luna was weak and had a poor prognosis prior to surgery. The team was doing everything possible to keep her alive during the surgery and monitored her closely as she began to wake from the anesthesia.

    The stress of the surgery had taken its toll – Luna had a seizure.

    Thankfully, the Doctors responded immediately. The lightly sedated Luna to help the seizure pass. She was closely monitored and slowly started to improve every hour. The kittens, who were being had fed every few hours by the volunteers, were also doing well. But would need their mother.

    Miraculously, thanks to the incredible care and attention from the team of Doctors, by the second day, Luna and her two kittens had improved so much that they were already strong and well enough to go home.


    Luckily for Luna, the Darwin Animal Doctors team were able to save her life, and those of two of her kittens. Not all animals are so lucky. Help us make sure that all animals have access to veterinary care when they need it most. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  9. Escotti and his run-away evening

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Escotti ran away one night, off to have his own adventure… but when he came back, he had an nasty looking wound on his paw. As soon as they saw the wound, Escotti’s family brought him to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic for treatment. The team already knew the dog; he previously came to the clinic to be sterilized and was later successfully treated for gastroenterological problems. After helping and supporting Escotti through his other medical treatments, the team had grown quite fond of the little pup and quickly began to treat him.


    The cause of the wound was unknown. Escotti was likley hit by car, an all too common occurrence for runaway dogs. Thankfully, it seemed that Escotti was lucky. While his wound was large and bleeding, he was still putting weight on his paw. This told the team of Doctors that he likely did not have any significant damage to the structures of the leg like a fractured bone.

    However, Escotti still needed to be sedated so that the Doctors could properly examine and treat the wound. Dr. Filip anesthetized the pup and began a thorough and careful examination of his paw. Escotti suffered minor damage to one tendon. With Dr. Filip’s skill and precision, it was easy for him to suture the structures and skin back together. Escotti’s leg was bandaged to keep the healing wound clean and he was sent home with instructions to return for a recheck in the following days.

    To the team’s delight, upon his return, it was clear that Escotti’s wound was healing nicely and as expected. The only issue was that the cheeky pup had started to lick the wound – but that was easily addressed with by giving Escotti a cone of shame!


    Help us be there for more animals in need, just like Escotti. Donate today.

    Leave a Comment
  10. Jefe, the machete victim

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Poor Jefe was brought into the Darwin Animal Doctors Galapagos clinic just before closing time one Monday evening. He had a large cut wound through his ear and was almost sliced in two. His family said that it had happened two days earlier, after their neighbor believed Jefe had killed some of his chickens, and took matters into his own hands. The team had never seen a dog attacked by a machete before. It was a horrible sight and everyone was glad Jefe had gotten away before the man with the machete was able to do any more damage.


    The tissue of both parts of the ear seemed vital enough, so the Doctors believed there was a good chance for the ear to heal completely with the correct surgical intervention.

    “We put Jefe under general anesthesia, clipped the hair, and washed the wound. Then, Dr.Alejo performed some pretty wonderful plastic surgery and sutured the ear back together. Since the owners agreed to sterilize the dog, we managed to do [the procedure] under the same anesthesia as well.”


    Jefe recovered well from the surgery and was able to go back home that same afternoon. He will return to the clinic for a check up later in the week and the Doctors hope to see the wound healing nicely.

    Join Heartbeat, our monthly giving program, and help animals just like Jefe every month!

    Leave a Comment