Ontario SPCA visits Alberta to participate in the Maskwacis First Nations Clinic run by the Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force

by | Interesting Northern projects |

In early May, 2018, a group of animal welfare professionals from Ontario were invited to participate in the Maskwacis First Nations Clinic run by the Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force (ASNTF). An Ontario SPCA Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), Ontario SPCA Inspector, Welland & District SPCA Mobile Coordinator and an RVT student from Collège Boréal flew to Edmonton to take part in this educational opportunity.

Maskwacis clinic, alberta spay neuter task force
Maskwacis Clinic

The three Ontario organizations that sent representatives felt volunteering for this clinic would be a good experience for the staff and help further train them for work in Ontario with Northern animal transfers and mobile clinics. The team arrived at the Maskwacis Community Samson Four Band Arena on Friday, May 4, and joined the other Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force volunteers. Together they unloaded trucks and set up tables for surgery, surgical prep, and supplies. A recovery beach was also set up with gym mats and blankets for post-surgery.

The clinic was serving several First Nation communities in the surrounding area. Volunteers drove into the communities to meet and talk with pet owners and, if pet owners wanted to take part in the initiative, transport their pets for surgery . Pets were then returned to the owners post-surgery. Walk-in appointments were also accepted all day for surgery and rehoming.

“I love this practice; to me it is a perfect example in action of making veterinary services accessible to those who might not be able to make it out to a clinic otherwise,” says April Sereda-Ashcroft, Ontario SPCA RVT. “This also allowed for volunteers to see first hand the conditions the animals are living in and provide tailored education if needed.”

Along with providing surgeries, the clinic had a bank for residents in need of food and supplies to care for their animals.

Alberta spay neuter task force
Maskwacis Clinic

Every volunteer had their role, and throughout the weekend, the volunteers from Ontario had the opportunity to serve different sections. At each surgical table was a high-volume spay/neuter veterinary surgeon and an RVT/vet student to monitor. Once the surgery was completed the animal was vaccinated and given antibiotics.

April says the ASNTF clinic was a well-oiled machine that was well organized, thoughtful, accessible and made up of a remarkable number of skilled volunteers.

“The clinic is community in action: different rescues, professionals and community members coming together to help their community,” says April, “‘Helping people, helping animals is their motto and they are true to it; a group of amazing and inspiring people working together for a common cause, empowering each other, learning from each other.”

During the weekend there were 140 canine spays, 134 canine neuters, 113 feline spays, and 93 feline neuters, with a total of 480 animals spayed/neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and tattooed in one weekend in the Maskwacis community. Additionally, 114 animals (62 dogs and 52 cats) were relinquished and placed with partner rescue groups to be rehomed.

“The four of us walked away inspired,” says April.