The dogs who never bit us

The Dogs Who Never Bit Us

Northern Dog Project 2015-16, James Bay, Canada

A dog carrying the Arctic fox strain of rabies was discovered in the James Bay coastal community of Kashechewan in 2013.

A humane and sustainable Dog Population Management (DPM) Project was initiated to prevent the spread of this deadly virus to animals and people in the remote and isolated communities of James Bay, namely Moosonee, Moose Factory, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and to the north in Hudson Bay, Peawanuck.

The four pillars of our DPM consist in permanently and reliably identifying each dog with a microchip, stop the spread of relevant contagious diseases by vaccinating against rabies, parvovirus and distemper, and deworming to help maintain good body condition. In addition, we use a non-surgical fertility control method (contraceptive implant) in potentially fertile females to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies. As a bonus, one ton of dog food was distributed to the dogs in the region.

A formal dog registry was compiled for each of the six communities so a DPM plan can be tailored to their specific needs and abilities Gentle dog

including practical solutions and measures for dog bite prevention.

Just over 600 dogs were handled and welcomed in this world premiere project using non-surgical contraceptives. It is with pride and pleasure, on behalf of all involved in this project, that Pearls 365 presents photos of some of these beautiful great Northern dogs at http://wearpearls365.com/northerndogs/.

Heartfelt gratitude to all who helped from close and afar: this project is the result of an immense collaboration of agencies, businesses, people who have proven that goodwill is alive and well (thank you Sam).

A special thank you to all the dogs who never bit us.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

The spay-neuter debate in dogs

Until 10 years ago, the primary incentive to spay and neuter was to prevent uncontrolled numbers of dogs produced and euthanized at shelters across the continent.

However as the primary impetus to breed dogs (for form and function) has considerably changed, the views on spay and neuter are also evolving, especially in light of dog health and social differences observed in other countries  (mainly in Europe) which do not endorse surgical sterilization.

PREVENTION OF MAMMARY CANCER

Other than population control, the most important reason to spay dogs is the prevention of mammary tumours, if spaying is done early in life. However this comes at a cost: increased urinary incontinence.

INCREASED RISKS OF CANCER

There is growing evidence which is not conclusive due to the lack of statistically significant controlled studies (as opposed to observational ones) indicating that certain cancers such as osteosarcoma (bone cancer), bladder transitional cell carcinoma, splenic hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumours may be increased as a result of gonadectomy (removal of gonads, ie ovaries or testicles).

 

SPAY AND NEUTER IN REMOTE COMMUNITIES

This brings into focus the need to elaborate specific protocols regarding spay and neuter in remote areas such as First Nations communities where the mortality rate of dogs may be relatively high.

Is it done to benefit an individual dog or the community?

If population control is the aim, shouldn’t all available females be spayed first before neutering males?

What about neutering males who do not have clear male-on-male aggression behavioural issues – why spend resources on them before spaying females?

Should breed predisposition to ailments resulting from gonadectomy be considered when spaying or neutering a dog in remote areas?

The Dog Population Management project of James / Hudson Bay area of 2015-16 is helping to bring to light specific needs and solutions for dog populations in remote areas. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Dr. Judith Samson-French

When and who to neuter depends on the end goal.
When and who to neuter depend on the end goal.