New veterinary hospital on the Galapagos Islands offers services at no cost to clients

dvm360dvm360 May 2022
Volume 53
Issue 5
Pages: 28

Lakefield Veterinary Group and World Vets are collaborating to provide year-round animal health aid to residents on San Cristobal Island

Lakefield Veterinary Group has launched its’ first free-of-charge veterinary hospital, on the Galapagos Islands, in collaboration with the international veterinary aid organization World Vets. The new World Vets Galapagos, Conservation Medicine Program will work to help protect the vast biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands, especially as it relates to the unique challenges brought about by the interface of wildlife populations, domestic animals and humans, according to an organizational press release from Lakefield.

In recent years, the need for year-round access to veterinary care has become an urgent priority in the Galapagos, particularly on San Cristobal Island, which lacks consistent access to veterinary services, according to Lakefield. To keep the local dog and cat populations healthy and manageable, year-round veterinary services will be provided free of charge to the local community. Lakefield is the primary donor and sponsor for the new hospital, which aims to bring aid to an underserved community and provide training and mentorship for new veterinary graduates.

Tom Parker, DVM, of World Vets, and a team of 5 doctors, 3 licensed technicians, and 7 assistants from Lakefield visited the Galapagos in November 2021. In a week, the team achieved 271 spay and neuters, distributed over 300 leashes and collars, and administered general wellness care for more than 60 pets in the community.

For members of the team, the trip made a lasting impression.

“Coming down here, you don’t know what you’re going to see. In the United States, people’s pets are taken care of, loved, and have access to regular medical care. Down here, you have the same love and passion from the owners, but they don’t have access to that treatment. In San Cristobal, this will be the place for owners that want to do best by their pets,” said Lakefield owner Madeleine Desmarais, in the organizational release.

In recent years, Lakefield and World Vets have worked together on several successful veterinary outreach trips to South America. In February 2022, 3 Lakefield team members packed their bags full of leashes, collars, and supplies for a second trip to the new hospital, accomplishing another 150 spay and neuters over 3 days.

The Conservation Medicine Program will work in close cooperation with local agencies and organizations including the Galapagos Conservancy, Galapagos National Park, Animal Balance, Galapagos Biosecurity Agency, and the Municipality of San Cristobal. The program’s efforts will include work on marine animals and other native and endangered wildlife species, as well as domestic animals at a separate location.

According to Lakefield, the program also will include the following:

  • Veterinary response and support for sick, injured, and entangled marine animals as well as native terrestrial wildlife, primarily in instances related to human interaction-caused conditions
  • Invasive species monitoring and control
  • Building capacity for stranding response and veterinary support for marine animals throughout the National Park.
  • Research related to understanding and protecting marine species as well as other native wildlife, including health and disease monitoring
  • Education and training programs for new veterinary graduates and local assistants
  • Working to maintain healthy and manageable local populations of domestic cats and dogs through sterilization programs and year-round veterinary services


Free of charge veterinary hospital launches on the Galapagos Islands. News release. Lakefield Veterinary Group. April 1, 2022.

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