Darwin Animal Doctors


Category Archive: Monthly reports

  1. D’Yaria’s Collar has arrived!

    New York, USA –> The Amazon, Ecuador

    Thanks to YOUR support we raised enough money to buy D’Yaria’s tracking collar!

    Do you know what that means?

    D’Yaria will be released into the wild to live her life as she should be able to live it. Thanks to YOU!

    Right now, our amazing partners in Ecuador are working away, arranging every little detail to make sure that D’Yaria’s release goes as smoothly as possible. The release of a jaguar is no easy feat – hours and hours of planning are put into the organisation of such a release to give D’Yaria the greatest chance for success in the wild. To give you an idea, here are some of the considerations that our team need to keep in mind in the build up to D’Yaria’s release;

    Firstly, D’Yaria needs to be fitted with the collar and she needs to wear it for at least a week to ensure that it is working properly. Then, a location must be carefully selected. The location needs to be large enough for D’Yaria to be able to survive, with ample resources and not too much competition. It also needs to be protected from illegal poachers so that D’Yaria wont face the same fate again. D’Yaria also needs to be released at a particular time of day – dark enough so that she can successfully and safely get out into her new habitat, but at a time that is possible for all necessary logistics to also be in place. Finally, D’Yaria needs to be released as soon as possible, putting the time pressure on the local team. The longer D’Yaria spends in an enclosure, the harder it becomes for her to re-adapt to her natural habitat.

    With all this planning, our team are rushed off their feet – working day and night on coordination with many different teams and departments to ensure that D’Yaria’s release will be a success.

    But it all hangs off one thing – her tracking collar.

    The tracking collar is such an essential part of D’Yaria’s release that team member and Veterinarian, Dr. Cris, flew to the US to personally collect the collar and ensure it’s safe arrival in Ecuador.

    Without this collar, there would be no chance to see if D’Yaria is able to adapt to her normal life. We would not be able to monitor D’Yaria’s progress through her release, and would not know if she has been injured once again. The information gained from her collar will not only ensure that we can improve D’Yaria’s chance of survival – bus also those of every animal going through rehabilitation after her. The information and knowledge gained from D’Yaria will help our teams to learn more about jaguars in the wild and more about their progress after a release. This information can then be used to continually improve rehabilitation programs for wild animals – giving all animals a greater chance at survival after release.

    We are so excited to share with you this story of success and would like to thank you for supporting D’Yaria’s rehabilitation. We will share her release story shortly, and will keep you updated about her progress as D’Yaria re-adapts to her natural habitat.



    The package arrives in New York. Simon and Piggy, along with their human Tod, ensure that everything is there and ready to go!


    Our partners in Ecuador have received the collar, and make sure that it is a good and comfortable fit for D’Yaria.


    Check back in with us for more updates and more photos and the progress continues!


    Help us continue to help animals just like D’Yaria to be able to lead the lives that they deserve to lead. Donate today.

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  2. Piggy’s Superhero Adventures

    New York, USA

    Our real life superhero, Piggy, spends most of his days fighting for animal rights and protecting his furry friends. When he finally takes a moment to take of his cape, Piggy knows that his work is still not quite over. In his free time, Piggy visits schools throughout the USA spreading Humane Education. Piggy teaches kids about the importance of caring for your animal friends, taking responsibility for their health and well-being and knowing what a each animal needs to stay happy and healthy. Piggy also teaches kids about caring for our environment and its importance in our every day life, and the lives of animals around us.

    Not only a proponent of animal and environmental care and respect, Piggy is a inspiration to many – especially those who have faced some hardship in their lives.

    Piggy had a tough beginning. Born a street pup like many unlucky animals out there, Piggy started his life trying to fend for himself, searching for scraps of food in bins and huddling into small dark corners to try to survive cold or scary nights. As if life wasn’t tough enough for Piggy, he was one day hit by a car while crossing a street. The poor pup had never felt so much pain in this life. Piggy was sure that that was the end.

    Lucky for him, Piggy was eventually found by two humans – the same two humans that founded Darwin Animal Doctors – Andrea and Tod. Andrea and Tod could see how much pain Piggy was in and just how scared and injured he was. They rushed him to a veterinary clinic where he was given the best medical attention possible. One of Piggy’s legs was so damaged from the incident that there was nothing that could be done to save it and it was amputated during the surgery.

    Since his accident, Piggy has returned to full strength and has the life and energy of any four-legged pup you meet out there (actually, probably more energy)! His loves his new life with his loving family (including a best friend cat) and wakes up every morning with a smile – happy and excited for every new day.

    But Piggy remembers that life was not all that easy, and that is why he has made it his life’s mission to spread Humane Education – raising a generation of people who care for animals and the environment. Furthermore, Piggy knows that some humans have faced difficult times just like he did and loves to share his story of strength and recovery. Piggy’s happy, smiling face as he rushes around a room on three legs reminds everyone that you attitude is what determines how you experience life – and a positive attitude can change everything.

    Over the last month, Piggy was out on another road trip, visiting four schools. During these trips, Piggy taught the kids that he met both about the importance of respect and care for animals and the environment, and about the power of a positive attitude and the decision to never give up. Piggy inspired hundreds of children in April alone (and we think that he also quite enjoyed doing it)! The reactions to Piggy and his story where, once again, so heart-warming, that we thought we would share some photos with you all.



    Piggy enjoys a quiet moment with students from the PSII School while everyone reads his story in comic form (“A Piggy’s Tale”) – and he knows he will always get some pats if he waits patiently!


    Piggy’s favorite job is teaching students how to give the perfect belly rub! (Piggy with students from the Gillen Brewer School)


    Piggy takes some time to read his story to students from the Reece School.


    (And of course has time for pats afterwards!)


    Piggy and his human, Tod, read his story to students from the Little Missionary pre-K School, and give everyone an educational coloring-in book.


    And, of course, still makes sure to have some time for pats!


    Please help Piggy continue to spread Humane Education, hope and inspiration to children everywhere. Donate today.

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  3. Eskay

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos.

    Eskay is a very energetic and happy puppy; he is always wanting to play, has a face that lights up when he smiles and generally loves life. So when Eskay became very lethargic and stopped eating, his guardians knew that there was something wrong. They brought the little pup to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic to see if there was anything the Doctors could do for him. A strange case with not much background information, the Doctors decided to hospitalize Eskay for a few days to monitor his condition. With the treatment, Eskay began to improve and was soon sent home again to stay with his family.

    Within a few days, Eskay’s condition began to slowly degrade. He, once again, stopped eating and became more and more lethargic. Concerned, his guardians brought him to the clinic once more. The Doctors gave Eskay a complete check up once again, but this time felt some painful enlargements in his abdomen. Without any ability to see into the abdomen and with suspicion of a foreign body, surgery was the only option.

    Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin conducted the exploratory surgery, searching for any sign of a foreign body or the cause of Eskay’s condition. Strangely enough, there was no foreign body present and Eskay’s intestines were undamaged; in normal working order. They did discover, however, that all the lymph nodes in Eskay’s abdomen were enlarged, which is what the Doctors had felt during the examination. Due to this discovery, the Doctors knew exactly how to treat Eskay.

    Eskay stayed in the clinic a few extra days to be monitored during his treatment to ensure that he got back to his old self. Eskay was loved and cuddled by all the volunteers, making sure that he felt happy and comfortable and had the best chance at improving. Lucky for the little pup, he did not just have the team of volunteers as friends, but made friends with another inpatient at the time; Scott. The two pups would roam around the clinic together and eventually began playing as their conditions both improved.  Scott and Eskay became fast friends and helped each other through their healing process.



    We are there when animals need help. Donate today, and help us keep our clinic doors open.

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  4. Oreo has a sleep over with the vets

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    Oreo is a 3-year old male cat that has had problems with urinary obstruction a number of times. An uncomfortable and painful condition, if left untreated, urinary obstructions can also become life threatening. As the urine contains toxins that the body is trying to get rid of, if the urine can’t leave the body these toxins begin to accumulate in the blood.

    Oreo has seen the Doctors multiple times over the past years for this same condition. The team and Oreo’s dedicated owner have tried everything possible to treat the chronic condition. However, despite all the best attempts, Oreo would only ever get better for shorter periods of time. Lately, those periods of health were getting shorter and shorter. The Doctors were now left with no other option but to do a urethrostomy (a penis amputation) which would then create a bigger opening to reduce the risk of obstructions.

    The surgery it not an easy one. It is a very delicate procedure, requiring extreme concentration and precision in every movement. To ensure the greatest care, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin performed the surgery together with the support of Dr. Kat.


    After the surgery, Oreo remained a hospitalized patient for a few days to make sure that he recovered as expected. Such a sweet and loving cat, Oreo gained the affections of Dr. Stella very quickly. For the time that he remained in the clinic, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin would take Oreo back to their apartment in the evenings so that he could sleep comfortably in their bed.


    Thanks to a successful surgery (and the extra love and care), Oreo improved greatly and has had no issues so far. He has since been able to return home to his family, but will return to the clinic regularly over the coming weeks for check ups.



    Left untreated, Oreo’s condition can become fatal. Many animals die from treatable conditions due to a lack of veterinary care.
    Help us reach those animals. Donate today.

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  5. When Prim stopped eating

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    When Prim, a sweet, energetic puppy started to become lethargic, his guardians started to become concerned. After a few days, Prim had no more energy and then stopped eating. At this point, his guardians became very worried and brought Prim straight to the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic.  As the Doctors examined the puppy they noticed that his respiration was very fast and they he had very pale mucosea. Prim was not well, and the Doctors needed to find out why – and soon.

    Dr. Justin ran a blood examination, expecting that there was some kind of infection. The examination revealed just that – Prim was severely anemic and had a high infection cell count. He was also positive for Erlichia, a tick-born disease. The Doctor’s concluded that Prim was having a severe immune reaction due to the Erlichia, and that his body had begun to destroy his own red blood cells in response. Prim was in dire need of help.


    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella hospitalized Prim to start him on his life-saving therapy. The therapy is a long one, ridding his body of the infections and bringing him back to balance, stopping his immune response from damaging his own body. While the therapy would take some time, within a number of hours the Doctors could already see an improvement in Prim. Together with some extra love and attention, the therapy was working.

    After a day, Prim was healthy enough to return home and continue the therapy with his family at his side. His guardians were happy that their beloved pup would be able to return home and was well on his way to recovery.


    Prim’s life was saved due to the dedication of our team of volunteers. Help our Doctors be able to continue saving lives every day. Donate today.

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  6. Spay and neuter campaign, San Cristobal

    San Cristobal, Galapagos

    And the campaigns continue! The most recent spay and neuter campaign was in San Cristobal, where the Darwin Animal Doctors team, along with the government agency in charge of protecting biodiversity, ABG, worked for three solid days to spay and neuter as many animals as possible. The team consisted of our Dynamic Duo, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin, volunteer Kaat and veterinary technician students Tove and Ingrid. Alongside Dr. Rita from ABG and Dr. Fernando, the team were able to sterilize 44 dogs and cats in the three days, as well as offering general medical treatment to any animal in need.

    We are really proud to be able to run these campaigns hand-in-hand with ABG. To make the biggest impact, both in the protection of the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands and in the future for the animals that call them home, we need to be able to provide spay and neuter and veterinary services for every domesticated animal on every inhabited island. Thanks to this amazing partnership, we are taking huge steps forward in being able to make this a reality.

    As the day begins, the holding bays already start to fill up with animals awaiting surgery


    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella prepare for surgery, and then dive right in – as they already have a number of animals waiting!


    Ad the day continues, the post-op bay starts to fill up. But the surgeries are just beginning…

    With some of the more complicated surgeries, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella support each other and work together.


    Help us reach our goal of being able to provide free spay and neuter and veterinary services to every domesticated animal on every inhabited island in Galapagos. Donate today.

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  7. A weekend with consequences

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    One Saturday, Damster was not a very well-behaved dog and decided to eat three little chicks… According to his guardian, he chased them and swallowed them one by one, so quickly that it was not possible for the family to get to him and stop him before it was too late.

    As if from Karma, Damster almost immediately got sick; he stopped eating, started vomiting and experienced excessive pain in his abdomen. Damster’s young guardian knew there was something wrong and rushed him to the clinic straight away.

    The Doctors checked the pup for an obstruction but, although his abdomen was painful, there did not seem to be an obstruction present. For now, Damster was free from surgery. Due to his condition, however, the Doctors decided to keep the pup in the clinic for observation and continual treatment. The team built Damster a nice bed in a quiet corner of the clinic so he could rest and be comfortable for his stay in the clinic. As soon as the pup was in his new bed another symptom presented itself – diarrhea.

    Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin started Damster on a number of medications (including antibiotics, anti-emetics and painkillers) to help improve the pup’s condition. It took some time before Damster wanted to eat again, and he scared the Doctors a few times with low blood sugar – one time resulting in a hypoglycemic attack. Despite his initial unwillingness to eat, Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin’s treatment worked and Damster slowly began to improve. Volunteer Ingrid was particularly helpful for the little pup in his healing process. She spent long hours hand feeding the little pup, first with sugar water through a syringe, and later whole foods. When Damster just needed to rest, he would spend the time sleeping next to Ingrid, on her desk.

    Eventually, Damster started eating better, moving around and eventually even crying for attention. At one point, the little pup began searching for food in all parts of the clinic, and started to get his mischievous nature back. It was then that the team knew that the pup was well enough to return home.


    Damster then returned happy and healthy to his family home – hopefully with a better idea about the consequences of eating things he’s not supposed to eat…

    Help us continue to provide veterinary care to those animals who need it, just like Damster. Donate today.

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  8. Spay and neuter campaign, Isabela, 2018

    Isabela, Galapagos

    DAD, in collaboration with ABG, has started the initiative of organising spay and neuter campaigns every month. Not only on the main island, Santa Cruz, where the clinic is located, but also on the other island that don’t have
    veterinary care.

    In February, Isabela was visited by the Darwin Animal Doctors team, in collaboration with ABG to spay and neuter as many pets and strays as possible, and to provide veterinary care to those animals who, otherwise, do not receive such care. During this week, 60 animals were sterilized by the team!


    1. Drs Stella and Justin in surgery     2. Dr. Stella warms up a cat in the sun after surgery         3. “I don’t weigh that much!”


                     4. Dr. Stella in surgery                  5. Lots of patients, means lots of towels, means a big trip to the laundry!


    Sterilizing your pets helps stop pet overpopulation and unwanted litters ending up on the street. Help us provide this essential service around the world. Donate today.

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  9. Supporter Spotlight; The Dynamic Duo, Justin and Stella.

    Santa Cruz, Isabela, San Cristobal
    Galapagos Islands
    It is time once again, for a Supporter Spotlight, and who better to shine the spotlight on than the two Doctors who have made everything that we have achieved this year possible; Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella. 
    Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella came to the Galapagos clinic at the beginning of this year to take over from Dr. Alejo when he returned to the mainland to continue his surgical specialization. Since then, they have taken to the role like fish to water and have impressed us to no end with their dedication and perseverance through any and all challenges. 
    This dynamic duo have been handed the biggest set of tasks of any Chief Veterinarian so far. As the clinic has continued to grow and take on new ventures, the role of the Chief Veterinarian has gotten more challenging and involves more organisation and time dedication. With campaigns monthly, education programs budding and more eager-to-learn student volunteers than ever before, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella have a big role – a role they fulfill with smiles on their faces and optimism in their approach. 
    Alongside their commitment and their willingness to work hard, these two are particularly impressive in their desire to help animals in need. Such care and dedication is felt by the whole volunteer team, who see Dr. Stella and Dr. Justin always go that extra step in caring for their patients. Whether it be giving cat that extra TLC they need to get better, or staying extra hours to ensure that a dog gets the best treatment possible, Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella are committed to do it. 
    We are proud to watch this team continue to succeed, and enjoy hearing the stories of successful treatments and happy, inspired volunteers. We are delighted to be able to continue to share with you over the next few months everything this couple has been able to, and will continue to, achieve.
    Thank you, Justin and Stella, for such amazing work so far in Galapagos. We are very proud to have you both heading our volunteer team and appreciate everything you do to fulfill that role so well!

    Help Dr. Justin and Dr. Stella have what they need to succeed in helping animals in Galapagos and protecting it’s incredible ecosystem. Donate today. 
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  10. Spay and neuter campaign, Santa Cruz, January 2018

    Santa Cruz, Galapagos

    The Darwin Animal Doctors team have been busier than ever this year, running additional spay/neuter campaigns around the Galapagos islands monthly, with the support of the ABG (Agencia de Regulacion y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galapagos – the agency in control of the protection of biosecurity in Galapagos).

    Over the next weeks, we will give you a run down of the amazing work that these campaigns have achieved – and will be continuing to achieve throughout the rest of the year.

    On January 15th was the beginning of the first of these campaigns. This first campaign was to focus on Santa Cruz, the same island where the Darwin Animal Doctors’ clinic is located, but in areas where the residents have difficulties bringing their animals to the clinic.

    For three days, the clinic team, alongside the team from ABG, conducted spay and neuter surgeries. Furthermore, all dogs that came through the clinic were microchipped, helping with the assessment of the number of dogs on the islands, including the ability to link the medical profile of a dog to the dog itself.

    Over the three days, the team were able to conduct a total of 34 spay and neuter surgeries. Below, you can see some photos from the three day campaign; the animals that came through and the teams that worked so hard to make it happen.





    Help us continue to protect the precious ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands. Donate today.

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