Darwin Animal Doctors


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.

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