Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

by Animal Balance
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Vaccinate Dogs on the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Report by Jessica Gonzales, Animal Balance - Galapagos Islands Program Manager.

March 2021

Veterinary Care Through the Pandemic.....Compassionate Care for All

The situation in the Galapagos has become difficult for the community, with mobility restrictions due to the increase of infected Covid-19, the influx of external visitors to the Islands is minimal compared to previous years, seriously compromising the economic stability of the inhabitants. Likewise, dogs and cats of the families are affected due to the difficulty of carrying out sterilization campaigns and providing medical care.

To the extent possible,since December 2020, ABG is resuming sterilization activities attending the long waiting list in Santa Cruz. For this month of April 2021 we have planned a training campaign for Vets working at ABG led by Dr. Diego Barrera, AB’s alumni and a national animal welfare benchmark. Dr. Diego will spend 4 days at ABG San Cristobal working with their team of Vets and technicians . The trained Vets will have enough supplies to continue performing s/n surgeries for the rest of the month

Our main goal is to ensure sustainability in the management of dogs and cats population using effective and humane methods. Having local vets trained on the right techniques will help to offer a continuous service to the community.

La situación en las Galápagos se ha vuelto difícil para la comunidad, con las restricciones de movilidad debido al incremento de contagiados de Covid-19, la afluencia de visitantes externos a las Islas es mínima en comparación a años anteriores, comprometiendo seriamente la estabilidad económica de los habitantes.  De igual manera los perros y gatos de las familias se ven afectados debido a la dificultad de realizar campañas de esterilización y ofrecer atención médica. 

Spanish Version:

En la medida de lo posible la ABG, desde diciembre de 2020, está retomando las actividades de esterilización atendiendo la larga lista de espera en Santa Cruz. Para este mes de abril 2021 hemos planificado una campaña de capacitación para veteranos que trabajan en ABG liderada por el Dr. Diego Barrera,  de ABG y un referente a nivel nacional del bienestar animal. El Dr. Diego pasará 4 días en ABG San Cristóbal trabajando con su equipo de veterinarios y técnicos . Los veteranos entrenados tendrán suficientes suministros para seguir realizando s/ n cirugías para el resto del mes.

 

Nuestro principal objetivo es garantizar la sostenibilidad en el manejo de la población de perros y gatos utilizando métodos efectivos y humanos. Tener veterinarios locales capacitados en las técnicas adecuadas ayudará a ofrecer un servicio continuo a la comunidad.

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San Cristobal Clinic
San Cristobal Clinic

 

 Animal Balance Galapagos May 2020 Report 

Animal Balance has been working on the Galapagos Islands for the past 16 years, using a grassroots community-based model to positively impact overpopulation on the Galapagos Islands. Our success here serves as a global model demonstrating our mission: to collaborate with communities in need to create sustainable and humane animal management programs, in order to prevent suffering and ignite social change.

Animal Balance’s program on the Galapagos Islands, is a collaborative effort between ABG (the local agency charged with protecting the biodiversity of the archipelago) the Municipality and the Parks Service. 

For 2020, the authorities had not been able to secure funding for a veterinarian for the island of San Cristobal. ABG has been able to send the veterinarian from Santa Cruz the main island, to San Cristobal every few months for treatments, but there is no veterinarian on the island to serve the community on a full-time basis. Animal Balance’s plans for 2020 were to assist San Cristobal with a multipronged approach, establishing a Visiting Vet Rotation program to assist with the need for veterinary care on the island, as well as scheduling multiple high volume spay and neuter clinics throughout 2020. 

In February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to visit San Cristobal to provide critical wellness services and vaccines, as well as launch our Visiting Vet Rotation program. Dr. Isa, a Colombian veterinarian who has volunteered for Animal Balance on these islands a number of times prior, was joined by Dr. Mary, a veterinarian from the USA, to provide wellness services to the community’s animals. The vets stayed for two weeks, working out of both the ABG clinic on San Cristobal and a pop-up clinic in the town center. Accommodation had graciously been provided by 911-Emergency Agency with support from the Municipality. During the wellness campaign over 257 animals, 200 dogs and 57 cats were treated. People were also able to submit applications for spay/neuter surgeries for later dates and 55 applications were received.

Our team returned to their various ports of departure to stay-at-home orders due to the spread of COVID-19, the Galapagos Islands along with mainland Ecuador were closed to non-national arrivals and our plans for our May spay/neuter clinic had to be placed on hold for the interim. 

In a bid to continue assisting the community of San Cristobal throughout this difficult time, Animal Balance’s Program Manager Jessica and Dr. Isa joined forces to help provide the community with advice for their pets over social media. The plan was 2-fold; 1) to answer specific questions and 2) to provide basic information on basic pet care.

Dr. Isa took over 20 calls from community members with medical questions. The most frequent question was on how to give medications safely. She also received scores of texts and photos, even offering evaluations over FaceTime to owners and allowing for follow up calls if needed. Dr. Isa said the other most common question was when they would be able to have their animals spayed/neutered. Due to the current lack of veterinary care on the island, we are also creating a veterinary webpage for the community called ‘One Love-One Health’. On this page, they will find basic information to help care for their animals. Graphic and web artists in Ecuador are volunteering their time to design and create this webpage. It will be hosted on the Animal Balance website and also on ABG’s website. We are the two main sources of information for veterinary care to the community. 

The key needs of this community during COVID-19 is to have a friendly, knowledgeable veterinarian on hand to contact and also to have a referral source for educational materials. Until we can return, the team is working to create this page. When we are able to return, which we hope to be in January 2021, we will hold a 2-week high volume sterilization and wellness clinic to try to once again balance the cat and dog populations. 

Thank you for this opportunity to share our work on these islands and for your support during these difficult times, we, the people and the animals of the Galapagos Islands are truly grateful. 

San Cristobal Clinic February
San Cristobal Clinic February
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Animal Balance is thrilled to confirm that we will be returning to the Galapagos Islands in May 2018 to continue work sterilizing and vaccinating cats and dogs on the archipelago. The team will be returning to San Cristobal for a week-long campaign, following a successful sterilization and vaccination campaign there last fall, during which 386 cats and dogs were sterilized, and hundreds of dogs were vaccinated.This campaign was held in cooperation with Agencia de Regulacion y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galapagos (ABG), the local authorities on biosecurity for the Galapagos.

After San Cristobal, the team will travel to the more remote island of Isabela for another week-long campaign. This will be the first time for Animal Balance returning to Isabela since 2014, and the first time that the canine DHLPP vaccine will be offered to dogs on this island. 

Animal Balance has partnered with ABG to build sustainable programs to humanely manage cat and dog populations on the islands. By maintaining the balance of these species, other species on the islands including sealions, tortoises, blue footed boobies, and many others, are allowed to flourish.

The progress that is being made on the Galapagos will now also serve as a model for Animal Balance, so that we can prove to other islands around the world that spay/neuter and vaccinations help to humanely manage and maintain a healthy cat and dog population, which contributes to the overall health of other wildlife on the islands. This project in particular provides us with an ideal example of how to incorporate local authorities and the community in order to get them to embrace solutions and ignite social change from within. 

We are grateful to everyone who has supported, and continues to support, our efforts to show the world that killing one species in order to protect another is not the solution. The Galapagos Islands have always shown us that many species can coexist and we are honored to be able to continue this work in such an amazing environment. 

Volunteer Pam with one of our patients.
Volunteer Pam with one of our patients.
Our work helps protect these guys!
Our work helps protect these guys!

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Canine patient on San Cristobal.
Canine patient on San Cristobal.

The Animal Balance team arrived in Santa Cruz, Galapagos on Ocotber 28th to begin a two-week vaccination and sterilization campaign, in partnership with Agencia de Regulación y Control de la Bioseguridad para Galápagos ( ABG), the lcoal agency tasked with managing all biodiversity on the Galapagos islands.

Although Animal Balance has been working on the Galapagos for 14 years, this campaign was significant in the fact that it is the first in which we have been allowed to provide vaccinations for dogs, protecting them against distemper, parvo, leptospirosis and other preventable diseases. This is a huge landmark in social change for the communities on the Galapagos, who over the years have shifted their view of how to humanely manage cat and dog populations from using poison to control street animals, to adopting ideas of including animals as part of the family. Animal Balance has played a pivotal role in igniting this movement and we are so proud of the communities for making this change happen. We are incredibly grateful to all of our dedicated volunteers, 14 of whom travelled thousands of miles, generously donating their time and travel expenses to participate in this project, and to all of our donors who provide the resources to make this campaign happen.

The campaign ran from October 28 through November 12, focusing efforts on the two most populated islands of the Galapagos, Santa Cruz and San Cristobal. Animal Balance sterilized 386 cats and dogs, and as part of their treatments, all dogs were given a DHLPP vaccination. ABG provided vaccinations to hundreds more dogs that did not need to be sterilized. 

It was obvious from the first day that there was a great deal of community support for this project. Turnout was high at the clinics on both of the islands, and the teams worked long days to ensure that we provided care for as many animals as possible. 

Project Highlights : 

- "Max" Cardena was the first dog vaccinated on the Galapagos Islands. ABG's Dra. Lisette smiled after giving the vaccine, as everyone gathered around cheered at what we hope will mean the end of dogs suffering from preventable diseases like parvo, distemper and leptospirosis. 

- "Nana Iris" is an older dog that was brought in by a good samaritan, after he saw her wander into the street and get hit by a car. Not only was Iris vaccinated thanks to the vaccines purchased through our campaign, but our veterinarians were able to address several medical concerns for her, and our team was able to find this older dog an amazign home with a local friend of ours. 

Our Saturday Neighborhood Clinic was held at a local soccer court on Santa Cruz, ensuring that vaccines were accessible to those who did not have the ability to bring their dogs to the clinic during the week. 128 dogs were vaccinated that day and the AB team worked with the ABG team to share some low-stress dog handling skills. Everyone had a great time getting to know the community and their dogs. 

We did outreach in costume! Halloween fell in the middle of our clinic, so we capitalized on the opportunity to don costumes while spreading the word about our clinic. We quickly realized that our outrageous costumes were great icebreakers with the people, especially when we foudn language barriers challenging. There were lots of smiles, and we saw a lot of people arrive at the clinic as a result of passing out flyers in town. 

Groundwork was laid to continue this project with another campaign in the spring of 2018, tentatively set to serve the islands of San Cristobal and Isabela, where residents have less access to vet care than the busier island of Santa Cruz.

Overall, this campaign was incredibly successful, and demonstrates continued improvement in the quality of life for animals on the Galapagos Islands. The cooperation displayed between the local authorities, Animal Balance, and the community provides a superb model on how to ignite social change. Through the support we receive from our GlobalGiving Campaign, we will be able to continue to do this life-saving work and save more animals around the world. 

First dog vaccinated on the Galapagos!
First dog vaccinated on the Galapagos!
A young girl with her puppy, Santa Cruz.
A young girl with her puppy, Santa Cruz.
Outreach in costume on Halloween.
Outreach in costume on Halloween.
Big turnout for our Saturday clinic.
Big turnout for our Saturday clinic.
Puppies at the clinic for vaccines, Santa Cruz.
Puppies at the clinic for vaccines, Santa Cruz.

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Organization Information

Animal Balance

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @animalbalance
Project Leader:
Emma Clifford
Portland, OR United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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