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Caring for the critters
Family and friends watch loved ones take oath of citizenship

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A team of animal health-care specialists from the Tuxedo Animal Hospital in Winnipeg, Man., made their annual visit to Rankin Inlet this past week.

NNSL photo/graphic

Animal health-care professionals Leigh Weatherburn, left, and Emily Wade help comfort Thor before his procedure during the Tuxedo Animal Hospital's annual team visit to Rankin Inlet this past week. - Darrell Greer/NNSL photo

Making the trek were Dr. Stavros Iacovides Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and animal health-care specialists Leigh Weatherburn and Emily Wade.

A lot has changed in Rankin's pet population since Tuxedo began sending a team more than a decade ago.

Iacovides was making his fourth trip to Rankin since 2004 this past week; his first in the past four years.

He said during those years, he's seen the most improvement in the area of pet spays and neuters.

"Darrell (Greer), you and I did an interview here almost a decade ago and I told you one of the goals of this clinic was to address Rankin's pet population," said Iacovides.

"We did about 12 to 15 spays or neuters at that time, and this year we're going to set a record with about 37 surgeries.

"So with the help of Page Burt and John Hickes, and us coming every year, we've accomplished that.

"I hope we even get better in the years to come."

Iacovides said the battle against the parvo virus and rabies has been quite successful in Rankin.

He said it's a battle that never ends, however, and he can't stress enough the importance of having animals vaccinated.

"We really want to stress prevention because vaccination is, essentially, 100 per cent effective against those two deadly diseases.

"Rabies has a human health concern, so we really, really want to stress the prevention of that disease.

"We do see a low grade of rabies in this area, with the Arctic fox being the reservoir for the disease.

"Any animal outside that's not protected could pose a health hazard for people."

During the rest of the year, when Tuxedo does not have a team in Rankin, Burt and Hickes do vaccinations at the Nanuq Lodge.

There is no charge for rabies vaccinations, and the couple only charge $10 for the parvo virus vaccination.

Iacovides said the Tuxedo team also focuses heavily on the rising issue of obesity when doing pet examinations.

He said focusing on good body condition for a pet can help it live considerably longer.

"They don't live long enough in our lives.

"So anything we can do to extend a pet's life is very valuable.

"There's a lot of evidence coming out at many of the conferences I attend to support that."

Iacovides said the status of the pet has increased dramatically across Canada.

He said pets are now treated as family members in many Canadian households.

"I've seen that shift in Rankin Inlet, as well, coming here the past decade.

"It's rewarding to come here, do all this work, and address some of the health concerns people have for their furry family members.

"These pets are an important part of people's lives and they love them almost as much as kids in some cases.

"It's great to be a partner in that."

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