Table of Contents
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Chuck Weiss
Research Paper 1: Survey of Diseases and Accidents
When to Start Working Dogs
A Day in the Woods
Future or Death
Reality Check: Reproduction or the Real Deal
Behaviour: Qiniliq Learns His Place
High Arctic Mushing: Part III
Book Review: Igloo Dwellers Were My Church
Janice Howls: All Along the Watch Tower
IMHO: Friends and Allies
|EDITOR'S NOTE: The
length of the original paper made it necessary
to edit it for inclusion in the Fan Hitch. Therefore
readers are reminded
that some data, statements in support of conclusions
with the list of references, are not a part of
what is presented
below. Nevertheless, this scientific paper offers
insight into the invaluable
contribution of both the authors and the dogs.
The Fan Hitch expresses
its profound gratitude to A.R.M. Bellars for sharing
his research with
its readers. This paper is reproduced here by
permission of the Natural
Environment Research Council (the parent body of the
Survey) who holds sole copyright. We are indebted to
them for allow us
to share it with you.
British Antarctic Survey Bulletin, Number 21, 1969
Veterinary Studies on the British
By A.R.M. Bellars
ABSTRACT. The causes of death in registered Antarctic sledge dogs have been classified under 13 headings. for the most part, these categories are what one might expect from the knowledge of the life and environment of these dogs. The exception is the condition now called “cervical lymphadenitis” since its aetiology is unknown.
From this review it can now be seen that accidents and fights ("extrinsic" causes), and osteoarthritis, are the most frequent reasons for fatalities. together, they account for 67.9 per cent of male deaths and 47.5 per cent of female deaths. However, accidents and fighting have most effect on the juvenile husky, whereas osteoarthritis almost invariably affects huskies older than 5 years.
Culling is the only category showing more female than male deaths. There is a continual tendency to reduce the number of females to that required for breeding purposes And to replace females with males in sledge teams. Considering that this dog population is closed, one could reasonably expect the figures for culling to be higher than they are. Against this, there is the obvious need for continual replacement of fatalities and an inadequate knowledge of the technique of culling.
Despite the presence of a permanent breeding population of huskies at the British Antarctic Survey stations since 1945, when the original dogs were brought from Labrador, no veterinary information became available until M.F. Godsal visited these stations in the austral summer of 1963-64. Apart form a few occasional additions from Greenland in 1954 and 1961, and from Canada in 1954, the present dogs are all directly descended from the original imports. The breeding and maintenance of sledge dogs has been well described by Bingham, James, Adie, Reece and Taylor.
Nowadays, mechanical transport has to a large extent superseded the dog team but for field work from Stonington Island in the Antarctic Peninsula and Halley Bay on the Brunt Ice Shelf dog teams are still used extensively, and they have long since proved themselves to be a safe and reliable means of transport in mountainous terrain. In this manner, journeys of 600 miles are still undertaken regularly. Although there is no doubt that, in difficult conditions, a well-fed and well-driven team is a most efficient means of travel, modern demands are such that air support has now become essential if the dog team is to operate to its maximum efficiency.
It is now customary to feed at least 1.5 lbs. Nutrican daily when conditions and supplies permit. Feeding at this rate will not stop the members of a hard-working team from loosing weight progressively but fortunately the dogs recuperate very rapidly when Nutrican or seal meat is once again unlimited. In 1967 vitamins and minerals were added to Nutrican to supplement the vitamins included after Taylor's work.
At all of the stations except Halley Bay the dogs are "spanned out" in the traditional manner at all times, the only exception being whelping bitches. At Halley Bay the dogs are put into ice tunnels when the winter temperature drops below -30C.
Where a condition had been reported in the past, advice was given as to its possible cause, treatment and further investigation. Among these were a disease known as "Signy Neck" (but referred here to as cervical lymphadenitis), a condition erroneously called "ringworm", pyometra and endometritis, and corneal opacity.
By far the largest part of the work involved the examination of every dog at each station, the instruction of medical officers and stations members on aspects of the veterinary treatment of dogs (particularly the treatment of wounds), distribution of appropriate drugs to each station, surgical treatment of individual dogs, and finally, advice on many of the subjects involved with the maintenance of a large colony of dogs. It was a privilege, as novices to the Antarctic, to learn a very large amount from dog drivers and their dogs.
As a result of these visits, great emphasis was placed on the many advantages of carrying out complete post-mortem examinations, and the advisability of continued veterinary investigation at regular intervals. Following recommendations, it is hoped that more dogs will be introduced from the Arctic in the near future.
SURVEY OF DISEASES AND ACCIDENTS
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In the next issue of the Fan Hitch we will present Part II of this research paper entitled "Occupational Osteoarthritis"