Wednesday, December 12, 2018

One Love...

L-R Natalie, Melissa,Lisa, Dr. Lechten, and Maureen the founder of the Animal House of Jamaica

A group from The Global Alliance for Animals and People recently traveled to The Animal House Shelter in Jamaica.  The Animal House Shelter provides care and housing for stray dogs from across the island.  At the time of our visit, there were 132 dogs in residence with 5 full time caretakers. 
Our plan was to spay 41 females, neuter 5 male puppies, vaccinate some of the dogs for Distemper/Parvovirus, de-worm all of the dogs and test all of the dogs for Heartworm, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma and Lyme Disease. 

Unfortunately, the Jamaican veterinary regulator and Ministry of Health had other ideas.  At the last minute, the regulator declined to issue a temporary license due to inadequate time to make a determination (request was made over 4 months ago) and the Ministry of Health was unable to issue a permit for the drugs/vaccine to be brought into the country since we did not have a veterinary license.  This left us unable to do any surgery and without any antibiotics to treat the few infections of various types that we saw. 
We were able to de-worm the dogs and do the testing.  Sadly, there were 23 heartworm positive dogs, 52 Ehlichia positive dogs, and 6 Anaplasma positive dogs.  These dogs will all require treatment and run the risk of contracting the diseases again as the Shelter has inadequate funds for heartworm and tick prevention. 
The dogs at The Animal House Shelter are housed in groups and allowed time to roam in the large yard daily.  The dogs are happy and get along well with each other and any humans they come in contact with.  When arriving at the shelter, you are greeted with excited barks and tail wags.  Only a small percentage of dogs are placed in homes in Jamaica.  The majority of dogs that are adopted are flown to other Caribbean islands, Europe, the United States and Canada.  Many dogs are destined to live out their lives at The Animal House.  While the dogs have food, shelter and human companionship, one cannot help but be saddened by the fact that many will never know the joy of living in a household with a family that loves and cares for them. 

The Animal House does all it can with limited resources.  The majority of its funds are spent on food and emergency care for injured/ill animals.  There is little money left for elective surgeries such as spays and neuters, though every effort is made to neuter all male dogs to prevent unwanted pregnancies.  We are hoping to come to an agreement with the government and regulator so that we can try this trip again within the next year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Weeding out the facts...

Many people have questions regarding the use of Cannabis and Cannabis oil on their pets. With the new Cannabis Act, there raises a concern within the pet health field. This act creates a new environment for Canadians which will increase their pet’s exposure to marijuana.  

Currently, there are no approved cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) prescription drugs for animals, which is the safest pathway for veterinarians to prescribe cannabis to animals. There are veterinary health products (VHP) with hemp that are approved for sale in Canada; these are low risk substances used to maintain or promote the health and welfare of animals and do not make health claims. VHPs can contain ingredients such as hemp seed derivatives containing no more than 10 ppm THC, which will be exempt from the Cannabis Act. These products can be identified by a notification number on the label. Pet owners should be aware of unapproved products being marketed to consumers. If a cannabis product does not have a drug identification number (DIN) or a notification number (VHP) then its safety and efficacy cannot be verified. Anyone can visit Health Canada’s VHP web App and search the notification number or brand name.

Marijuana toxicities can occur when pets ingest the substance or if smoke is blown into their nose or face. Signs can include lethargy, disorientation, wobbliness, vomiting, increased salivation, and urinary incontinence. Marijuana toxicosis can be life threatening so please do not be afraid to let your veterinarian know you pet could have been exposed.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Always learning

On October 19th Melissa and Natalie headed up to Sudbury to attend the first Northern Animal Summit hosted by the OSPCA.  It was a 2 day event with lots of speakers discussing the issues that
Northern Summit Panel
are currently affecting the overpopulation of dogs mainly in the indigenous communities in northern Ontario.
The summit kicked off with a smudging ceremony, which was a first for Melissa and Natalie and they were very excited to join.  The smudging ceremony is a custom of Native American and other indigenous cultures. For centuries many cultures have used smudging as a way to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, aura, energy, ceremonial/ritual space or any other space and personal articles.

The speakers were great!  One speaker talked about the mobile spay/neuter campaigns that are happening in northern Ontario.  To Melissa and Natalie’s surprised this speaker commented on the great work Allandale/GAAP has done and they were humbled to see their photos in the presentation along with some of the other AVH team members. 
It was fantastic to hear what other organizations are doing. One organization strictly transfers dogs from the north to the south to find them new homes.  Another organization ships dog food up to remote communities, their last shipment weighed in at 1500lbs, that’s a lot of dog food!
However there are still many obstacles.  Some of these communities don’t have drinking water.  They are so remote that vet care is not possible, internet is non-existent and costs of dog food is $40 a small bag and a delissio pizza is $15.  There are not many veterinarians that hold a special license to travel and do mobile clinics and if they do, the cost to run a spay/neuter clinic up north can cost between 10, 000 to 20, 000 for a 3 day clinic in one community.
Melissa and Natalie left feeling optimistic and excited.  They had seen some old friends and made some new, and with all the work these charities are accomplishing, hopefully we can see a brighter future for the northern dogs.