Darwin Animal Doctors


The Mystery Case of Ralph

Santa Cruz,Galapagos

Ralph’s story is one of absolute mystery. The owner of this nine month old pup came into the Galapagos clinic to schedule Ralph for a neutering appointment for the following week. However, Ralph arrived before his scheduled visit to see the Doctors, as he had not eaten all weekend and had severe vomiting and diarrhea. The sickly pup was given fluids, antibiotics and other medications to help reduce the vomiting. That afternoon, the owner returned to the clinic with Ralph, worried that he was not getting any better.

In addition to his other symptoms, Ralph now had a high fever and had stopped drinking fluids. The Doctors administered intravenous (IV) fluids and antibiotics, then ran analytics on his blood and tested for tick fever. The Doctors concluded that Ralph was negative for tick fever, however his white blood cell count was low. This indicated that Ralph’s body was fighting off something, but with no clear diagnosis. Dr. Carmen recommended that Ralph spend the night at the clinic to continue receiving IV fluids.

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Over the next four days, Ralph’s condition did not improve. His symptoms only worsened and he still would not eat or drink. The Doctors tried a variety of medications to help Ralph fight off the sickness including antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, acid reducers, and vitamins. He developed ulcers in his mouth, which covered his gums with dead tissue. He began to show signs that his liver was failing in addition to passing the mucosal lining of his gastrointestinal tract. The Doctors were unsure why Ralph’s condition worsened, so they adjusted his medication and sent the bloodwork to the city of Quito to shed more light on the poor pup’s ailment.

Unfortunately, the bloodwork returned inconclusive. Steadfast to find a cure, the Doctors sought the medical advice of veterinarians and specialists around the world. Two other veterinarians visiting the Islands were also invited to give their prognosis. No one had ever seen a case like Ralph’s before and no one knew what to do.

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The Doctors did not give up. They continued Ralph’s intensive treatment and continued to monitor his overall status, temperature, and vital signs. All with an extra-large serving of TLC. Ralph’s owner visited him several times a day, much to the pup’s excitement. She brought him all his favorite foods, although he did not eat, and took him out for short walks. This sweet little dog won the hearts of everyone at the clinic. Dr. Carmen spent hours lying with him, cuddling and willing Ralph to stay strong and get better.

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One day, just over a week after Ralph entered the clinic, the pup ceased all vomiting and began to drink water again. He started to chew on ice cubes and ate some simple and bland food. All of Ralph’s symptoms slowly subsided until he was determined healthy enough to go home.

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For now, Ralph’s disease remains a mystery. Yet, due to the persistence, hope, and tremendous amounts of love from the Doctors and Ralph’s family, this pup was miraculously pulled back from the brink of death.



  1. Jennifer Cumming

    We, Ralph’s family, can’t even begin to thank Dr Carmen, her team and Darwin Animal Doctors for the amount of care they gave Ralph. He lost 10 kg in the week he was ill and is slowly gaining it back again. He is back to his old tricks- chasing mice, moving our dive gear around the yard and giving everyone friendly nibbles. Thanks for saving his life.

  2. Teresa Ouchterlony

    Amazing story, many of us animal advocates here in the U.S. were puzzled and trying to network all we could to assist his human parent.

    We thank you so much for your dedication and tenacity to his care!

    Animal Rescue Volunteer,
    Oregon. U.S.A.

  3. Gilma Ricardo

    Excellent work!! Really you love these animals. Thank you very much Dr. Carmen and team doctora.bless you!!

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