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One of the dogs in Hopedale.
Photo: The Chinook Project
The Chinook Project’s 2012 Clinics
by Dr. Marti Hopson
Atlantic Veterinary College
University of Prince Edward island
In June of 2012, the Chinook Project visited two communities: Hopedale (pop. 500) and Nain (pop. 1200). Both are coastal towns in Northern Labrador, Canada, accessible only by plane. There were two separate teams, comprised of four veterinary students and three veterinarians or coordinators. We were lucky to involve faculty members from the Atlantic Veterinary College as well as veterinarians from Kensington (PEI), Clarenville (Newfoundland), Goose Bay (Labrador) and Wakefield (Quebec). This made a total of 14 people who set up mobile clinics in a fire hall and vacant health centre to serve the needs of the dogs (and cats) in these communities.
The Chinook Project offers many thanks to the volunteers on the ground who organized accommodations, food and the appointment schedule. This was the first time Hopedale had seen veterinary care, and in Nain no veterinarians had been able to visit in a number of years! Most dogs are owned in these towns, and the community members were very grateful to have access to this free veterinary service. The teams were treated to some local food and they were also able to go fishing and on other boat trips to enjoy viewing the local landscape and wildlife.
The most difficult logistic for these 2012 wellness clinics was shipping all supplies to the North so that they would be on location when the teams arrived, as well as transferring equipment from one site to the next in a short time frame! Air Labrador was helpful with discounts for plane tickets and the RCMP was able to take some of our cargo from Goose Bay to the sites. As always, about 90% of our budget is spent on transportation and shipping. Thanks are in order to Pfizer Animal Health, the Atlantic Veterinary College, the Rathlyn Foundation, Boehringer Ingelheim, Ann McCain Evans, Iams Eukanuba Canada and other generous donors.
Veterinary student Shari (wearing surgical gloves) has just completedThe Chinook Project was able to spay and neuter over 100 dogs and cats during these trips, and over 200 animals were seen in total for vaccinations, physical exams or surgery. Interest is strong in having the Chinook Project return to northern Labrador next year. There has been a steep increase in rabies cases seen in the local fox population, as well as the dangers of zoonotic parasites such as Echinococcus (a tape worm infection that can be fatal when passed to humans from dogs or wildlife). The importance of vaccinating and deworming the canine population, as well as increased public health awareness and education continues to be of paramount importance.
a spay. Student Waylon (L) and Dr. Gallant, who monitored the
anesthesia during the procedure, look on. Photo: The Chinook Project
Donations to help the Chinook Project can be made to:
The Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, att: Dr. Alice Crook, Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Ave, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 4P3 Canada.