Remote Alaskan Communities to receive vet care

FAIRBANKS, Alaska Veterinary care will now be more accessible for remote Alaskan areas.

Arleigh Reynolds inspecting the health of a sled dog. - Courtesy of UAF Veterinary Medicine Facebook Page

A $450,000 grant provided by Pet-Smart Charities will allow students from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Colorado State University to establish a vet clinic in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region.

"When we started the Veterinary Medicine program, our goal was to serve all of Alaska. Rural Alaska has traditionally been under served in veterinary medicine." Director of the Center for One Health Research Arleigh Reynolds said.

The program will administer pet population control, as well as vaccinations and parasite regulation, which will limit disease transmission between humans and animals. The program will allow about 30 students participate and plans to conduct approximately 3,000 spay and neuter surgeries.

Dr. Reynolds, says it will be more cost effective to prevent these issues at the source rather than paying for the consequences.

"If we can go to the villages and help people with spaying and neutering that will really help with the dog overpopulation problem. Right now the only solution is to shoot the dogs. Which is tough on the people that do it, tough on the people that are hearing it, it is just really difficult. Particularly in a culture where dogs, traditionally, have been a very positive thing, YK Delta is a sled dog culture."

UAF's first class of veterinary students graduated in May.