Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. Bonny’s near death experience

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Bonny was brought into the Galapagos clinic by a young, high-school aged girl one evening, just as the clinic had finished closing up. Bonny had been acting normally all day, but over the last hour, the little pup’s condition declined rapidly. As Bonny got increasingly worse, the concerned girl decided to rush the pup to the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic.

    The Doctors could see straight away that Bonny’s condition was critical. The little pup would not move at all. Her extremities were all cold, her internal temperature low, she had lock jaw and was hypersalivating. On top of all of this, the little pup would occasionally let out a heart-breaking squeal.


    The Doctors believed that Bonny most likely had ingested some type of poison, or had incurred a spinal injury. The Doctors questioned the young girl to determine what could have happened to Bonny, but the girl believed that there was nothing in the house or in the patio area where Bonny had been that could have been a toxin, nor had she fallen or been injured. (She later found a bag of garbage in the area which could have contained something poisonous that Bonny could have eaten).

    With no information to go on, and Bonny in a critical state, the Doctors began to try everything they could to save her life. They tried every usual medication to save Bonny, but nothing seemed to have any effect. As the team became increasingly concerned, they were left with one last possible option – a small amount of a certain medication, that in the correct exact dose, can be used as an effective contra-poison. The team had to be very precise with the dosages as too little would have no effect, and too much would effectively euthanize the little pup. The Doctors would administer the medication in very small doses over a few sessions.


    Bonny was given the first dose the morning after she was brought in, and another that afternoon. The concerned Doctors closely monitored Bonny’s condition throughout the day and gave her a final dosage of the medication that evening. While Bonny’s screaming had stopped, the Doctors could not tell if her condition would improve. As the somber team went to bed that evening, they hoped the medication would have its desired effect overnight.

    The next morning, as the team arrived early to check on Bonny, they were met with a miracle. Bonny was up and walking around the clinic, and even wanted to eat. Her condition had improved immensely – she seemed an entirely different dog to the previous days. The only reminder of her near-death experience was that Bonny now seemed to have somewhat reduced vision, bumping into a few things in the clinic every so often.

    The team called the young girl to let her know the news. The Doctors, the young girl, and Bonny were all ecstatic about her miraculous recover. The lucky pup had escaped near death, thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of the Darwin Animal Doctors team.


    Save more animals in need – just like Bonny- by donating today!

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  2. Oreo

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Oreo was brought into the Galapagos clinic one Monday morning while the team already had three sterilization surgeries lined up, with three new volunteers having just arrived. Thankfully, two volunteers, Alex and Natalia, who had just finished their last day in the clinic the week before were just heading out, and decided to jump in and lend a hand one last time.

    Oreo had been brought in by a middle age couple as he had apparently been bitten by another dog that morning. Oreo had bite marks on his neck and front leg, congruent with the story, but also had a fractured hind leg which had no bite marks, blood or wounds of any kind.

    An odd situation, the team brought the dog in to be treated. He had never been to the clinic, and had not yet been castrated. As Dr. Daphne checked the dog over, the team talked with the owners about the importance of sterilizing their dog. Mayra, a long-time trusted face of the Darwin Animal Doctors clinic, discussed with the couple that it is standard for the Doctors to sterilize a dog or cat that goes under anesthesia, and explained the reasons why. The couple understood, and agreed to have Oreo castrated while he was anaesthetized for treatment.

    Dr. Daphne and the team worked away on Oreo while he was anaesthetized; his wounds were cleaned, he was castrated and his leg was cast. Lena monitored Oreo and his anesthetics throughout the surgery, and Sacha assisted in stabilizing the leg to be cast.


    Oreo woke up from the surgery well, although he still has some healing to do with his broken leg. His family will need to take great care of him as Oreo will need to return to the clinic twice a week to be checked and rebandaged. The Doctors will continue to monitor and treat Oreo as he goes through his road to recovery.

    Help ensure that dogs, just like Oreo, get the care that they deserve.
    Become a monthly donor today!

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  3. Rex

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One Saturday morning, a mother and her son brought their beloved dog, Rex, to the clinic. Two volunteers, Alex and Natalia, were the only ones in the house as, being a weekend, the rest of the team were out. The two volunteers called Dr. Daphne right away to let her know that there was a dog who needed attention.

    Dr. Daphne quickly returned to the clinic to see Rex. The poor pup had been reportedly losing weight all week, but had become acutely lethargic that morning, making the family too concerned to wait for the clinic to reopen on Monday. Dr. Daphne took Rex in to get him on fluids and some medication. By that afternoon, Rex was already doing better, but was still not good enough to go home. Strangely, Rex had developed a new symptom; he had begun acting as if he were slightly blind.


    Rex remained with the clinic team for a few more days. He continued to improve, but was still displaying some symptoms of having unclear vision.

    When Rex’s family came to visit, the clinic team saw a wonderful sight; “When the owner came, [Rex] was so happy to see them that he almost got stuck in the gate because he was trying to climb through. The boy started playing with him. [Rex] was indeed still a bit wobbly but really wanted to play.”

    After some discussion with the family, it seemed that the most likely cause was that Rex had eaten something poisonous. The family knew of a tree nearby the house which is poisonous for dogs and can apparently cause temporary blindness – a possible cause. With the most dangerous time passed, Dr. Daphne and the team decided that it would be best for Rex to be able to finish his recovery with his loving family; where he felt the most safe and in a place most familiar. The family were asked to return with Rex for a check-up in a few days, and to return immediately if he seemed to get any worse.

    When Rex returned for his check-up, he was doing wonderfully. His sight was back to normal, and he had returned to the happy and healthy dog that he had always been.

    Darwin Animal Doctors face many cases such as Rex. Become a monthly donor or make a one-time donation by clicking the donate button and help us continue to treat sick and injured animals around the world!


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  4. First few weeks in Thailand

    Koh Tao, Thailand

    Dr. Carmen arrived on site in Koh Tao, Thailand a week prior to the first set of volunteers who would join the program. During this first week, Dr. Carmen was setting up the temporary clinic, meeting with local partners and ensuring that everything was in place and ready to go; from trap cages to surgery tables.

    “We would set up in a property of ‘Save Koh Tao’; across the street from the clinic. It is an open area with a rooftop, lights and fans. I had to buy some containers to store our spay kits, make an anaesthesia protocol for the volunteers, and set up everything to be ready for Monday.” reported Dr. Carmen. So much preparation had gone on behind the scenes over the past months to be ready for the team to begin, but there is always more work to be done in a field clinic!


    Dr. Carmen was especially interested and excited to meet our local partners, to ensure that we would be able to work in a manner that would be most supportive and beneficial for the community. Our local veterinary partner, Jae, introduced Dr. Carmen to her clinic assistant, Nai who would be helping the team around the clinic and with trapping, including prepping the animals for surgery. Dr. Carmen was also introduced to Nit Noi who would help with cleaning and preparation of the materials needed for surgeries.

    As the volunteers began to arrive, the campaign hit its official start date and the team set to work. “The first week was busy with an average of eight animals a day and a lot of female spays”, reported Dr. Carmen. As a teaching facility, Dr. Carmen and Dr. Mila, another experienced vet on the team, were taking much care and attention to guide students and newer vets through surgeries; from preparation to after care. The students were all improving throughout the first weeks, each getting more experience and confidence in themselves from the support of Dr.s Carmen and Mila.


    Local partners worked hard alongside the Darwin Animal Doctors’ team, and added a bright spark to each and every day with their positive attitudes and willingness to help.

    “Nit Noi is the cleaning lady, she doesn’t speak Thai or English as she is Burmese. She sings the whole day, cleans and loves the animals… Nai is an all-round assistant, preparing the animals for surgery, giving anaesthesia etc. Nai goes around town with a blowpipe to sedate aggressive dogs and brings them to me for surgery. He also brings nice dogs, which were easier to catch for him, and brings them back again at the end of the day to where they came from.”

    As the Darwin Animal Doctors and Koh Tao residents worked together, the first weeks were shaping up to be a great success. During the second week, the number of animals being brought into the clinic slowed which meant that Nai became even busier catching animals around town. Other local community members, Nicky and Heidi, stepped in to help and begun setting traps. They reached out to the community to monitor the traps to let the Darwin Animal Doctors team know when an animal had been caught, and to help set more traps to catch strays.


    The team will continue working together with the community for the next two months, aiming to significantly reduce the stray cat and dog populations on the island. In amongst all their hard work, the team also manage to have a good time and experience the Thai culture; “For lunch we don’t have a set time, we go when we are finished with surgeries for that moment and we go and find some restaurant to have a quick lunch. In the afternoon, we sometimes relax at the beach and at night we enjoy a Thai curry.”

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  5. Supporter Spotlight – Stacey Marye

    This month, the Darwin Animal Doctors would like to shine the spotlight on one of our long-term supporters, Stacey Marye.

    Stacey, a mother of two, is a school nurse at the Gillen Brewer School, a school for children with severe learning disabilities. Stacey got involved with Darwin Animal Doctors a few years ago when she met some of the team at a comic con and bought a set of “A Piggy’s Tale” comics for her school library. At this point in time, Stacey was unaware of the impact that the comics would have in her school, and that she would have on the Darwin Animal Doctors team.

    After watching students read Piggy’s story to one another and seeing their love for the three-legged superhero and his adventures, Stacey contacted Tod, author of “A Piggy’s Tale”, human of Piggy, and Darwin Animal Doctors’ president. Stacey explained to him the effect that the comics had had amongst the students. The children loved Piggy, and so Tod and Stacey thought up the wonderful plan to organise for the children to meet their superhero. In February of 2016, thanks to the hard work and organisation of Stacey, the students at the Gillian Brewer School got a wonderful surprise.

    Piggy had come to visit and spend time with the children, sharing his story and courage. Piggy also helped to run humane education workshops – one of the first times that the Darwin Animal Doctors’ humane education curriculum was officially trialled in schools. The students had an amazing day and were insirped by Piggy’s strength and his superhero abilities, despite only having three legs.

    After that, Stacey began volunteering with the Darwin Animal Doctors; speaking to teachers who were interested in bringing the curriculum or graphic novel to their schools or libraries and promoting humane education in general. Stacey also volunteered her time at the New York Comic Con, alongside some of the dedicated children from her school.

    Stacey continues to be an advocate for humane education (and Piggy!) and animals in general and is known to always jump in to lend a hand whenever she can. Piggy has since returned to the Gillen Brewer School, loving the opportunity to work with such courageous young children, and share with them his love for life.

    Thank you to Stacey, and other supporters like you, for your continuing support of Darwin Animal Doctors and our veterinary and humane education efforts; We couldn’t do it without you.

    For the Animals!

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  6. The story of a street dog

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    On a Friday morning, a man came into the Galapagos clinic while the team were finishing up a surgery. He mentioned that he had a dog with a swelling on his flank and asked the Doctors some advice on what to do. The Doctors asked the man to bring his dog into the clinic so that they could take a look at him.

    The man returned that afternoon with a dog. Upon questioning the man, the he told the team that the dog wasn’t actually his, but was a street dog. The kind man said that he had seen the dog walking around with the swelling on his flank and thought it best that he was checked out by someone knowledgeable.


    After a general check-up, the Doctors determined that the dog seemed to be in quite good physical condition, except for the swelling. Dr. Daphne needed to take a sample of the lump to see what was causing the swelling. As Dr. Marijke and Sacha held the pup, Dr. Daphne took a sample of fluid from the swelling. After draining the swelling, the pup was already looking much better. He was given antibiotics to ward off any infection and a deparasite treatment. The Doctors suspected that the swelling might have been from a worm cyst, and asked the man to return with the dog for a check-up in a week.


    The man returned to the clinic the next week to let the team know that the dog was doing much better. The dog had been returned to the now found owner and was in good shape. He would be old enough for a castration surgery within the next weeks, so the team and the man made an appointment for the surgery, and a follow-up check-up.

  7. National Animal Rights Day at LUSH Anaheim

    Sunday, June 4th is National Animal Rights Day! Join Darwin Animal Doctors in celebrating with Lush Anaheim on Sunday, June 4th from 1-5pm as a proud Charity Pot partner! For more information, please visit Lush Anaheim’s Facebook invite here.

    Stop by Lush Anaheim on June 4th to chat with us and learn more about our commitment to ensuring every animal has the love and care they deserve! #DarwinAnimalDoctors #AnimalRightsDay #CharityPot

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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. 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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