Darwin Animal Doctors


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.

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