Many successes on first Northern Dogs clinic with a dedicated van

In our last Northern Dogs veterinary clinic of the year, we spent three days, with 40 hours of surgery, providing spay/neuter and other vet services to more than 200 dogs and puppies and cats. Our new IFAW van makes easy work of carrying equipment, donated dog food and dog houses through 2400 km of driving.

We arrived on Wednesday and immediately received two urgent calls from a community farther north where two dogs were suffering serious neck wounds. 

One dog was flown in to us on Thursday and the second dog was flown in on Friday. Shortly after hearing about these dogs, a local dog owner said that her pup was lying on the back porch, sick and lethargic.

My first thought is always Parvovirus, a deadly virus that quickly kills unvaccinated pups. Without medical support, many parvo pups die.

By the time the full vet team arrived, we had confirmed that the pup had parvo and had him hooked up on fluids in the back of the new van. The two dogs with serious neck wounds were stable and ready for surgery. 

The veterinary team jumped into action and transformed the meeting room in the fire hall into a full-blown operating room.  With the bare essentials for surgery up and ready, the vet techs started preparing the two dogs with neck wounds for surgery. 

Then the doctors dove in to fix what looked to be almost unfixable. One of the vet techs had the parvo pup in the bathroom, checking fluids and adding antibiotics.

By 11 pm Friday night, the two neck wounds were stitched up and the dogs were recovering in blanket-filled, comfy crates.  A quick sleep for the two-legged team members and we were back at it the next morning by 8 am.

Fast forward to 8:30 pm Saturday night and the 36 spayed and neutered dogs of the day were back at home with their owners and 92 dogs had been vaccinated.  On Sunday night at nearly midnight, the vet team was still hovering over the surgery table working on a difficult medical case.

Another 37 dogs who had been spayed or neutered that day were back home and another 100 dogs had been vaccinated.   

IFAW’s Northern Dogs Project uses education and outreach, veterinary services, assistance with dog-related bylaws and re-homing to help foster sustainable, humanely managed dog populations. With appreciation to everyone who helps to make these clinics happen in every large and small way, on the ground or from their homes – we are able to do this because of you.


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Senior Program Advisor
Senior Program Advisor
Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Céline Sissler-Bienvenu, Director, France and Francophone Africa
Director, France and Francophone Africa
IFAW Veterinarian
Katie Moore, Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Deputy Vice President, Conservation and Animal Welfare
Loïs Lelanchon, Animal Rescue Program Officer
Animal Rescue Program Officer
Shannon Walajtys
Manager, Animal Rescue-Disasters
Vivek Menon, Director of IFAW partner, Wildlife Trust of India
Consulting Senior Advisor to the CEO on Strategic Partnerships & Philanthropy