Category Archives: northern dogs

Winter Pups…We Need to Help Mom!

Female wolves give birth only in the spring when food is plentiful and water is in the liquid form (not ice or snow). They can also rely on the pack to provide for the pups.

Contrast that with free-roaming dogs. Females, through our work of domestication, have lost the ability to conceive only once a year in the spring. In our northern climates, they give birth in the snow at sub-zero temperatures when all is frozen around them, including drinking water.

More than ever, a lactating bitch needs water for her own maintenance and milk production. She will need to eat roughly 10 cups of snow to convert it into 1 cup of water while staying warm in the process. As for finding unfrozen food…

This is reason #2 why targeting females first and foremost in managing a population of unwanted dogs is the right thing to do. If you are not targeting females, why not?

If you are still unconvinced, there is reason #3 coming next.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

 

Chemical Castration – Desirable for Dogs With No Names

In my opinion,  the answer is no.

But let’s get a little background info first.

Chemical castration of dogs refers to two products: Zeuterin (Zinc gluconate) and Calcium chloride. The former is approved in USA (but not in Canada) while the latter has not had proper clinical trials to evaluate its efficacy and safety. Both involve injecting testicles with a chemical to produce tissue atrophy. Tissue swelling (which occurs from the mere fact of injecting liquid into a capsular structure) is a primary cause of discomfort post-injection and pain management must be implemented.

Zeuterin, unlike surgical castration, leaves enough testosterone behind to produce testosterone driven behaviours such as mounting of females (but shooting blanks), roaming  and packing. Those are precisely behaviours that people living in our remote and isolated communities find undesirable.

As for Calcium chloride, there is an overall lack of consistency in formulation, dosage, and administration as well as inadequate measures of sterility, safety, and testosterone reduction. For those reasons, Calcium chloride needs more controlled clinical trials BEFORE  its use in the field for purpose of sterilization be considered.

Because both products may produce significant pain and debilitating scrotal problems, chemically sterilized dogs should be kept under supervision and pain management implemented for one to two weeks post injection. This is simply not feasible with free-roaming dogs, dogs with no names.

As always, when trying new medical protocols in the field, one must be very conscious not to take advantage of disadvantaged populations who do not know better.

Dr. Judith Samson-French

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 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