The Fan Hitch   Volume 17, Number 1, December 2014

          Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog                                    
In This Issue....

From the Editor: Heading Out and Coming Home

Far Fur Country Documentary Projects Come to Fruition!

The Epidemiology of Rabies in the Canadian North

Okpik’s Dream en Route to Completion

Puvirnituq Snow Festival

Book Review: How to Build an Iglu and a Qamutiik

IMHO: The Best Laid Plans

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or

This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.

"Ikpukkuak releases his three dogs for packing while Higilaq sets out
with her backpack near Ammalurtuq Lake, southwest Victoria Island;
1 July 1915, N.W.T. (Nunavut)."         Jenness, Diamond, 1886-1969.
Courtesy, Canadian Museum of Civilization, (#36989; CD95-927-025)

The Epidemiology of Rabies in the Canadian North

by David Gregory, DVM

Taking the Bite out of Rabies: The Evolution of Rabies Management in Canada is a history and science book on rabies in Canada, with the management of rabies up to the present. Co-author Dr. Rowland Tinline and I plan to have it published in 2015. Roly and I are a good combination for this book. He was Professor Emeritus of Geography at Queens University and was very involved with the oral [rabies vaccine] bait program in Ontario. I worked for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), which used to be Agriculture Canada, for 24 years as Chief of Zoonotic Diseases before retiring.

With 38 chapters in the book we thought we had enough material but realized that a section was missing – the role of Inuit in rabies. We have a chapter dedicated to the First Nations point of view and feel that we also need something from the people living where rabies seems to have come from. There is a lot of folklore from Inuit in the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut (NU) about this disease affecting their dogs going back many years, probably before the first white settlers came to Canada. Where did Inuit come from and where did their dogs originate? Are Inuit in the NWT and NU of the same culture as those from Alaska and those that settled in Labrador and Greenland? Did they bring rabies with them with their dogs or was the disease already there? From the 1800s dogs and foxes were the main vectors and hosts. Why did it persist in the arctic and were there any human deaths as far as Inuit can remember? It seems not, perhaps due to their heavy clothing. Does anyone remember tales of rabies before the white man came?

Ed.: We are reaching out to people currently living in or otherwise intimately familiar with the Canadian Arctic and especially who have strong familiarity with the relationship of Inuit and their dogs and who also might be able to answer Dr. Gregory’s questions, adding to the body of knowledge to be included in Taking the Bite out of Rabies: The Evolution of Rabies Management in Canada. Please email Dr. David Gregory.
Return to top of page