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Providing animal care in Nunavut rewarding for local veterinarian


Dr. Ed MacMillan, a veterinarian with Central Nova Animal Hospital in Bible Hill, recently returned from a trip to Nunavut, where he and Dr. Barry Harrison, of Pictou, provided free services to animals in a community that doesn’t have a veterinary clinic. Part of the trip included a bite prevention program for youth, which was conducted by Harrison.

BIBLE HILL – A local veterinarian is thrilled to have had the opportunity to share his animal skills with a less fortunate community in Western Canada.

Dr. Ed MacMillan, a vet with Central Nova Animal Hospital, recently returned from providing a week and a half of free medical assistance for animals in Nunavut.

“There’s been no vet services for 10 years plus,” in that community, said MacMillan. “To receive pet care, people have to get on a plane for a one-hour flight to the nearest vet, which is very time consuming and very expensive.”

MacMillan, and Dr. Barry Harrison, a veterinarian in Pictou County, travelled to Pangnirtung, Nunavut, a community of 1,500, to lend a hand to needy animals.  

A small humane society had been established, and through that, the veterinarians took their own equipment and donated supplies to provide free pet care including spaying, neutering, deworming, vaccinations and other services.

“There was a steady stream (of patients) as soon as the clinic opened at 8 a.m. until 6 or 8 p.m. every day we did it,” said MacMillan, adding most of the services focused on population control.

One special case that tugged on MacMillan’s heart was helping a dog deliver her puppies under dire circumstances.

“She was trying to deliver puppies for a few days and before she was pregnant she had a fractured pelvis that healed improperly. She was having difficulty delivering (the puppies) so we did emergency surgery and saved that dog’s life. It was pretty rewarding.”

Another exciting part of the trip was being part of a bite prevention program, which was mostly offered by Dr. Harrison, for children between the ages of six and 10.

“It was nice to expose them to something they wouldn’t have had,” said MacMillan.

The trip was a reminder, said MacMillan, of what can be taken for granted when it comes to animal care.

“A lot of communities do need help and if you look close enough there’s a lot of need in our own backyard,” he said.

MacMillan added although it’s nice to be back tending to animals in Bible Hill, it was difficult to leave Pangnirtung.

“It was difficult to close up shop at the end of the week knowing more (help) was needed when we were gone.”

Twitter: tdnMonique

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