Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta T2N 4N1 (Brook, Kutz, Elkin); Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 5B4 (Millins, Leighton); Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Norman Wells, Northwest Territories X0E 0V0 (Veitch) and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories X1A 2L9 (Elkin).
Domestic animal health services are supplied to communities in Canada's Northwest Territories (NT) in diverse ways, including private veterinary practices in 2 of 33 communities, and by mail-order, fly-in, free clinics, and a government-coordinated lay vaccinator program in some of the other 31 communities. We evaluated delivery, needs, and potential uptake of domestic animal health services in the Sahtu Settlement Area, NT by offering free clinics for 225 dogs in 2008 and 2009; and administered questionnaires to 42 dog owners and 67 students in 2008. Owners indicated that 20% of dogs were neutered, 37% had had rabies vaccinations, and 29% had been dewormed. Physical examination of dogs demonstrated that 54% were "thin" and 4% were "emaciated." Owners and youth showed a range of attitudes toward dogs and supported improved domestic animal health services. Future services need to build on existing programs and collaborate with communities to ensure relevance, ownership, and sustainability.