Quebec vets to host annual Nunavik vaccination clinics
Clinics will tour Ungava Bay communities in June
Quebec government veterinarians will return to Nunavik in June to deliver a series of vaccination clinics to dog owners along the Ungava coast.
The annual clinics, which are offered free of charge, aim to protect Nunavik’s domestic animal population against rabies.
Vets also offer vaccines against other canine viruses common to the North, including distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus.
And because there is no permanent veterinary service in Nunavik, vets provide those same vaccines and training to local municipal staff to administer vaccines in their absence.
The program works to crack down on the spread of rabies in the region — a virus that can be deadly to both humans and animals if untreated.
The virus is considered to be endemic or always present in the region.
Health officials in Nunavik noted a rise in rabies cases in 2012, when a number of foxes tested positive for the virus.
Foxes and wolves are the main carriers of rabies in the wild — and when they bite dogs, rabies can spread quickly.
In 2012, about 15 dogs that were tested did show a positive result for rabies — one of those dogs was an animal that had been adopted from Kuujjuaraapik and taken south.
While the vaccination program used to visit only a few Nunavik communities every year, vets now visit each of the region’s community’s once a year.
The vets also visit Naskapi and Cree communities.
In all participating communities they hand out vaccines, syringes, needles and required forms.
To participate on the program, communities must apply to control dogs within their boundaries — a move which also prevents dog bites and rabies — and provide vaccinations on a regular basis.
Interest in the program is growing — in Nunavik, partly due to regulations that forbid unvaccinated dogs to participate in the annual Ivakkak dog team race.
The vaccination clinic will run in the following communities next month:
• Kuujjuaq June 10 and June 11;
• Kangiqsualujjuaq: June 12;
• Tasiujaq: June 13 and June 14;
• Aupaluk: June 14 and June 15;
• Kangirsuk: June 16 and June 17;
• Quaqtaq: June 18; and,
• Kangiqsujuaq: June 19.
Nunavimmiut should contact their northern village office to know more about the location and time of the vaccination clinics.
Quebec veterinarians will return to host clinics along the Hudson coast September 8-15.