Mobile rabies clinics coming to Gjoa Haven, Taloyoak
Veterinarians Without Borders going to communities to provide vaccines, training in animal care
Rabies clinics are coming to Gjoa Haven and Taloyoak over the next two weeks as Veterinarians Without Borders visits the two communities.
The non-profit organization that aims to improve animal health will be in Gjoa Haven from Sept. 29 to Oct. 2 and in Taloyoak from Oct. 3 to Oct. 7.
The organization’s goal is to provide information about how to vaccinate sled dogs against rabies, and give the community the training and equipment to create its own initiatives for animal care, said northern Canada program manager Marieke Van Der Velden.
“I love that we get to work with really amazing local people who see the correlation between healthy animals and healthy people and want to help their community access these services,” she said.
Five people from Veterinarians Without Borders will be going to Gjoa Haven and Taloyoak for these workshops, including two veterinarians, two veterinarian technicians and a support person, Van Der Velden said.
The purpose of the clinics is to help communities build their own capacity to treat rabies instead of relying on outside support, Ven Der Velden said.
Building that capacity is important, as animal care is challenging in remote communities where an animal can need to be flown out to get treatment.
“I can’t even imagine not being able to access animal care for my pet and having to travel so far and at high costs to access a veterinarian,” Van Der Velden said.
Veterinarians Without Borders goes to a community after being asked to visit by a member of that hamlet, she said. The hamlet then coordinates with the organization on running the clinic.
From last November through the beginning of January, the Government of Nunavut confirmed seven cases of rabid foxes in the territory. Since rabies is endemic in foxes, a rise in the fox population will lead to an increase in rabies infections, the GN’s wildlife operations regional manager for South Baffin, Jonathan Pynn, told Nunatsiaq News previously.
Currently, the rabies vaccines are the significant equipment being left for the community, but the hope is that the program expands, Van Der Velden said.
While Veterinarians Without Borders is visiting the Kitikmeot region this trip, she said the organization went to Qikiqtarjuaq and Kimmirut in the Baffin region in March.