Category Archives: humane population management

Why over vaccinate?

Why over vaccinate?

Why over vaccinate tiny little dogs?

I don’t know.


Dogs With No Names project has worked in several Indigenous communities across Canada using contraceptive implants to rapidly reduce an unwanted dog population by initially targeting females.
This provides two clear and immediate benefits:

1. Increased public safety through decrease fighting/chaos around females no longer in heat.

2. Huge welfare benefit for females who may otherwise deliver unwanted puppies in the winter.

As such, we also provide rabies vaccine, essential in case of dog bites, and over the years, we have added a parvo/distemper vaccine to prevent mortality of sexually-neutralized females.
Outdoor females, that is.

Lately, a spay/neuter group went to a First Nations community to hold a surgical clinic. That is good news. However, ‘driveable’ First Nations (FN) communities in southern Alberta have access to veterinary care. That means, many FN residents take their dogs to a veterinarian for routine care such as vaccinations.

At my veterinary hospital, 8 small dogs (under 10 pounds) owned by regular FN clients came in to get vaccine boosters for their dogs who had just been ‘done’ at the recent spay/neuter clinic.

This was an unpleasant situation: all 8 little tiny dogs were already properly vaccinated with several of them on a 3 year vaccine schedule. The FN dog owners were upset their dogs got over vaccinated. These little dogs are totally indoors and do NOT contribute to the overpopulation of dogs on the rez nor put public safety in jeopardy.

Dogs With No Names project has federal oversight and reports on all contraceptives used in dogs in Canada. To that intent, all dogs in our projects are microchipped.

Some outdoor dogs just spayed, had recently received an implant. Thus, one of us wasted resources as females do not need their ovaries removed AND an implant.

A phone call before the spay/neuter clinic would have easily identified the dogs at risk (welfare), the dogs in need of spaying, and residents dealing with semi-feral dogs in dire need of help.

We all have finite resources, why not work together to enhance these resources for the benefit of the dogs who really need a break?

As for neutering and vaccinating 5 year old chihuahua living exclusively indoors… I don’t get it.

~Judith Samson-French DVM

The problem…which rez dog do you neuter?

The question

What problem are you trying to solve?

If an overpopulation of dogs is perceived, why are you neutering males?

If you are neutering males, which males do you neuter first?

Free roaming rez dogs

The big alpha ones who run the show and are intent to breed females in heat? Or the ‘satellite’ males, the ones who run around at the periphery and not really taking part of the action?

If you neuter the alpha ones, the satellite dogs will become the alpha ones. If you neuter the satellite dogs, the alpha ones still run the show.

Most of all, why neuter 5 year old indoor yorkie or chihuahua males?

What problem are you trying to solve when indiscriminately neutering males, or neutering small indoor males?

Dr. Judith Samson-French

3 ways to spay a dog

3 ways to ‘spay’ a dog

In North America, veterinarians are generally trained to remove the uterus and ovaries (spay) whereas in Europe, the removal of the ovaries (and sparing the uterus) is often the norm.

Some advocate to spare the ovaries for health reasons (and remove only the uterus) which means females will go through heat cycles, attract males and chaos, but be infertile.

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Since chaos around females in heat is often a public safety issue and dog welfare problem, not removing the ovaries seems inappropriate for a successful dog population management program.

But why not just remove the ovaries and leave the uterus behind (ovariectomy, not ovariohysterectomy) which means a less invasive surgery for the free-roaming females?

Chemical castration of dogs – helpful?

Chemical castration of dogs – helpful?

The answer may be found in a study done on a statistically significant number of dogs in Chile.

It concluded the majority of dogs displayed no long-term (up to 6 months) testosterone levels change after chemical sterilization.

Does castration help reduce roaming?

The implications? We need to better understand the role testosterone plays on sexual, aggressive and
roaming behaviours to appropriately chose the best method of sterilization and intended impact on male dogs beyond shooting blanks.

Our team does not believe, at this point, that chemical sterilization is an ideal choice for free-roaming rez dogs: if a chemically castrated dog continues to pursue females in heat and engage in dog aggression, it remains a public safety issue.

Your thoughts?

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Effects of surgical and chemical sterilization on the behavior of free-roaming male dogs in Puerto Natales, Chile.
Garde E1, Pérez GE2, Vanderstichel R3, Dalla Villa PF4, Serpell JA5.

 

Working together

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Communities throughout the world can clearly benefit from a little help managing runaway dog populations. To exponentially accelerate results why not consider the following 3 points:

1. Permanently and individually identify the dogs handled.
2. Leave a record of activities performed with the community.
3. Work with communities that have a strong dog champion.

This way, unrelated groups working in a community over time can assure some continuity and avoid spaying a dog already spayed.

Blueprint to raise the bar – Alberta

Raising the bar

Over the last 3 decades, the Alberta landscape has increasingly been taken over by private interests. The “multi-use” reassurance has often degenerated to abuse as Fish & Wildlife has seen its conservation mandate decline to insignificance.

If the short-sighted often unmitigated multi-use of our crown land has become business as usual, it is time to become unreasonable and create a new vision.

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I propose the following blueprint:

1. Rebuild our Fish & Wildlife agency and populate it with bright wildlife managers AND conservation biologists.

2. Move Fish & Wildlife Officers out of Solicitor General’s office where they are isolated and bring them back in the game within the F & W agency.

3. Give some teeth to compliance and oversight – abuse of the land by whatever party must STOP.

4. Headwaters and Fisheries must be a priority again: drinking water, flood prevention and tourism should be taken more seriously. Really.

5. Open public consultations – there is a wealth of genius out there and exchange of info will bring clarity to issues for all.

(Get rid of advisory committees: if the feral horse one is any indication, they are stellar examples of ineptitude and incompetence, never mind unacceptably secretive).

6. Single portfolio ministry – raising standards handling the Alberta landscape is a gigantic task, who has time to handle Status of Women as well?

We need to STOP seeing our wildlife and ecosystems as overburden and see them as precious resources of which we hold stewardship.
Don’t you agree?

Inquisitive Wildies in logged area by Duane Starr Photography
Thank you to all who contributed suggestions by email or snail mail.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

Time to be unreasonable

Recently I have strongly decried wolf poisoning, coyote kill festivals and secretive wild horses culls.

What do they have in common?
1. They are not scientifically based
2. They are not humane
3. And they are not socially responsible


Peace time - wildies in Alberta

These very poor wildlife management methods cause much discord and chaos for all. Time to turn this around and be unreasonable, next post.

Duane Starr Photography – peace time

Dr. Judith Samson-French