Friday, January 30, 2015
Natalie Thomas, Communications Manager
Big Opportunity for RVTs in Northern Ontario Pilot Project
The importance of RVTs continues to grow within the interest of public health, and this latest call for help is proof of that.
The OAVT has been approached by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (the ministry) and the Weeneebayko Area Health Authority (WAHA) with some exciting opportunities for RVTs, and this important email is intended to gauge your interest in getting involved with a ground-breaking project.
In Northern Ontario’s remote and First Nations communities, semi-feral and free-roaming dogs pose a significant risk to the health and safety of community members. WAHA and the ministry have just launched a two-year Dog Population Control and Zoonotic Disease Prevention Pilot Project, with the primary focus being the development of sustainable dog population control, as well as a dog vaccination program.
The six communities this pilot project will focus on are the fly-in First Nations communities of Moose Factory (Moose Cree First Nation and MoCreebec Council of the Cree Nation), Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Peawanuk (along the James Bay and Hudson Bay coastline) as well as the Town of Moosonee.
The WAHA Dog Population Control and Zoonotic Disease Prevention Pilot Project has a very detailed action plan that, for the first two years, includes the use of non-surgical contraceptive implants in female dogs, and development of local community capacity to vaccinate their own dogs year-round. “Local capacity” ultimately means teaching members of each community how to facilitate these tasks on their own – while encouraging these individuals to enroll in a veterinary technology program as a step towards becoming a local RVT!
So how does this include RVTs?
We are hoping to collaborate with WAHA and the ministry to assemble six teams of RVTs (one team for each community) to work hands on with that community as animal health mentors. Options being explored include participating directly on trips to the communities, as well as working with the project leadership team to organize and deliver training workshops for community members, and provide web-based support on an ongoing basis. The workshops will allow locals to obtain a baseline of knowledge to administer rabies vaccinations, deworm community dogs on a regular basis, provide basic wound care and understand basic animal behaviour. WAHA and the ministry hope to have the first teams begin working with communities participating in the project as early as May or June.
This is a part of our province without access to veterinary care. RVTs have the opportunity to not only help the animals of these comm unities but ultimately help the communities to develop local capacity to be able to deal with basic animal health issues, improving overall community health and safety.
If you have any interest in being involved in this pilot project, please send an email to Natalie Thomas, OAVT Communications Manager. (Natalie@oavt.org)