Vets plan return to Nunavik for vaccination campaign
Vets will offer free distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus vaccinations in Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait communities
Quebec government veterinarians return to Nunavik next week – this time to offer vaccination clinic to pet owners along the Hudson Bay coast.
Quebec’s department of agriculture, fisheries and food offers the vaccination program free of charge to all dogs and cats that are more than three months old across the region.
The annual clinics, which toured the Ungava Bay coast in June, aim to protect Nunavik’s domestic animal population against rabies.
The virus is considered to be endemic or always present in the region.
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 hopes to crack down on the spread of rabies in the region – a virus that can be deadly to both humans and animals if untreated.
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.
This past year about 15 dogs that were tested did test positive 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, now they visit all communities at least once a year.
The vets who toured the Ungava Bay coast last June vaccinated 300 animals, which veterinarian Dr. Michelle Dionne called “a good number.”
“I find (the program) is growing gradually,” Dionne said. “We’re seeing more and more people coming out to the clinics.”
The vaccination clinic heads to Kuujjuarapik and Whapmagoostui Sept. 10, offering an afternoon and evening clinic.
Other visits are scheduled:
• Sept. 11 (afternoon) in Umiujuaq;
• Sept. 12 (afternoon) and Sept. 13 (morning) in Inukjuaq;
• Sept. 13 (afternoon) and Sept. 14 (morning) in Puvirnituq;
• Sept. 16 (morning and afternoon) in Ivujivik; and,
• Sept. 17 (morning and afternoon) in Salluit.
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.
Pet owners should call their local municipal office to find out where the clinic will be held.