Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut August 10, 2017 - 11:45 am

The dog days of summer arrive in western Nunavut

Veterinary team spends three busy days in Cambridge Bay

JANE GEORGE
Members of a vet team vaccinate a dog during a house call in the evening after finishing their daily clinic. The team from Alberta Helping Animals Society included Dr. Terry Hunt, Dr. Elaine Degrandpré (in fleece jacket with blue pants in background) and Connie Varnhagen, a registered veterinarian technician (blue scrubs in foreground).  (PHOTO BY DENISE LEBLEU IMAGES)
Members of a vet team vaccinate a dog during a house call in the evening after finishing their daily clinic. The team from Alberta Helping Animals Society included Dr. Terry Hunt, Dr. Elaine Degrandpré (in fleece jacket with blue pants in background) and Connie Varnhagen, a registered veterinarian technician (blue scrubs in foreground). (PHOTO BY DENISE LEBLEU IMAGES)

You might say the first week of August in Cambridge Bay for two veterinarians, a veterinarian technician and the 23 people—some as young as 13—who came out to volunteer at a three-day vet clinic was a busy one.

When its members visited the western Nunavut community of Cambridge Bay from Aug. 2 to Aug. 4, the vet team saw 143 Cambridge Bay dogs and cats—and one hamster.

The team came to the western Nunavut community of about 1,700 people with a group called the Northern Canine Rescue, a non-profit organization whose mandate is help dogs in Cambridge Bay.

They set up shop at Nunavut Arctic College, but also did “home calls” to dogs out on the land or for those dogs whose owners couldn’t bring them into the clinic.

In addition to providing check-ups and vaccinations, they also performed 39 surgeries at an operating room set up in the shop at the college, located 800 kilometres from the nearest veterinary clinic.

During their stay, the vets agreed to reduce the usual prices for their services—from $100 for a full check-up and vaccination to $40, from as much as $450 for spaying dogs to $200, and from as much as $250 for spaying cats to $150, with discounts offered for more than three dogs.

The vets said they would provide the service for whatever people could pay, but “all pet owners are expected to pay,” said a public notice about the clinic.

Exams included vaccines and deworming, blood tests, behaviour and nutrition advice, and “hearing great stories about the animals,” said Connie Varnhagen, a registered veterinarian technician, who came from the Alberta Helping Animals Society with veterinarians Terry Hunt and Elaine Degrandpré.

“This is my favourite clinic and I travel all over north and south America,” Varnhagen told Nunatsiaq News. “What I love is the extensive community involvement. I also really enjoy seeing how strong the human-animal bond is throughout the community.”

Among other things, the vet team also gave their annual “lion cut” to an extremely large, long-haired cat called Simba and helped one dog with a difficult delivery of pups.

After the clinic, Northern Canine Rescue board members thanked long list of local people, including many pet owners.

“Thank you for keeping our community safe from diseases and unwanted puppies or kittens,” their message said.

The list of the clinic’s supporters also included Canadian North, Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force, which provided an oxygen concentrator and surgical pack and gowns, the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, which donated surgical packs and gowns, Bayer Canada, which supplied deworming medicine— and the Qillaq Lodge, Kuugaq Cafe, Saxifrage Resto, and the Northern store in Cambridge Bay.

Throughout the year, Northern Canine Rescue, which also has an online fundraising campaign, works to find money to bring the veterinary team to the community once a year to help care for the community’s pets.

The organization’s efforts are backed up by the Hamlet of Cambridge Bay which wants the community’s animals to be better taken care of.

Its animal control bylaw attempts to remind people to “think about the responsibilities that come with being an owner.

Its bylaw that deals with the prevention of animal cruelty and animal control says it’s illegal to:

• leave an animal without nutritious food and palatable water for a period of longer than 48 hours;

• abuse an animal or punish an animal to an extent that is cruel or unnecessary; or,

• tether an animal by a chain or other material which is less than two metres in length.

Cambridge Bay’s council has also encouraged dog owners to come to the hamlet office to register their dogs, receive dog tags and get vaccinations free of charge.

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(2) Comments:

#1. Posted by Thank you on August 10, 2017

I would like to thank the vets for coming each year and providing services that a lot of communities may not have available to them. thank you for volunteering and the volunteers.
it is much appreciated. smile

#2. Posted by DogOwnerInGjoaHaven on August 10, 2017

That is great what they do in Cambridge Bay. I would love for this to happen in Gjoa Haven. Who can I contact smile

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