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North Battleford, Canada

Schurer J.M.,University of Saskatchewan | Phipps K.,Canine Action Project | Okemow C.,Battle River Treaty 6 Health Center | Beatch H.,Battle River Treaty 6 Health Center | Jenkins E.,University of Saskatchewan
Zoonoses and Public Health | Year: 2015

Free-roaming dog populations are a global concern for animal and human health including transmission of infectious disease (e.g. rabies, distemper and parasites), dog bite injuries/mortalities, animal welfare and adverse effects on wildlife. In Saskatchewan (SK), Canada, veterinary care is difficult to access in the remote and sparsely inhabited northern half of the province, where the population is predominately Indigenous. Even where veterinary clinics are readily available, there are important barriers such as cost, lack of transportation, unique cultural perspectives on dog husbandry and perceived need for veterinary care. We report the effects of introducing a community action plan designed to improve animal and human health, increase animal health literacy and benefit community well-being in two Indigenous communities where a dog-related child fatality recently occurred. Initial door-to-door dog demographic surveys indicated that most dogs were sexually intact (92% of 382 dogs), and few had ever been vaccinated (6%) or dewormed (6%). Approximately three animal-related injuries requiring medical care were reported in the communities per 1000 persons per year (95% CL: 1.6-6.6), and approximately 86% of 145 environmentally collected dog faecal samples contained parasites, far above levels reported in other urban or rural settings in SK. Following two subsidized spay/neuter clinics and active rehoming of dogs, parasite levels in dog faeces decreased significantly (P < 0.001), and important changes were observed in the dog demographic profile. This project demonstrates the importance of engaging people using familiar, local resources and taking a community specific approach. As well, it highlights the value of integrated, cross-jurisdictional cooperation, utilizing the resources of university researchers, veterinary personnel, public health, environmental health and community-based advocates to work together to solve complex issues in One Health. On-going surveillance on dog bites, parasite levels and dog demographics are needed to measure the long-term sustainability of benefits to dog, human and wildlife health. © 2014 Blackwell Verlag GmbH. Source

Schurer J.M.,University of Saskatchewan | McKenzie C.,University of Saskatchewan | Okemow C.,Battle River Treaty 6 Health Center | Viveros-Guzman A.,University of Saskatchewan | And 2 more authors.
EcoHealth | Year: 2015

Dog-related human injuries affect public safety and animal welfare, and occur more frequently in rural, remote, and Indigenous communities than in urban centres in Canada. Little work has been done to identify the perspectives of those people most heavily affected by this issue or to report successful dog management programs. This project was undertaken by veterinarians and public health workers with the goal of documenting First Nations perspectives on dogs, and educating other rural health workers about introducing animal management services to Indigenous communities. We recruited 10–14 residents and healthcare workers from three First Nations to take dog-related photos in their communities and participate in group interviews during the summer of 2014. Audiovisual data were synthesised into four digital stories exploring the following aspects of participant relationships with community dogs: (1) Spay/neuter clinics; (2) Role of the dog (past and present); (3) Human-animal bond; and (4) Healthy dogs as a part of healthy communities. These videos document changes in dog husbandry behaviour, new acceptance of spay/neuter, three-way knowledge transfer between residents, researchers, and policy makers, and an overall desire to sustain the positive outcomes of the pilot dog management project. This work highlights cultural beliefs and success strategies that might guide other programs providing veterinary services in First Nations communities. © 2015, International Association for Ecology and Health. Source

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