Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Baker Lake, Nunavut: Day 7

After a late night at Sue's party, some team members slept in on Sunday while some battled through the exhaustion and headed to the clinic for 9am. It is worth noting that, though all team members have been traveling since Sunday the 6th or Monday the 7th, and the first day of work was Tuesday the 8th, there has been no day off thus far. Many Baker Lake residents work during the week and are more available on weekends or later in the afternoon on weekdays, so the team is trying to cover all their bases to ensure that any person seeking veterinary access for their animal is accommodated.

Four dog surgeries were performed on Sunday morning, and the dogs were husky crosses belonging to local dog sledder Joe Hicks. It is usually very apparent when working sled dogs arrive at the clinic to be seen. The equivalent of human marathon runners, these athletes of the dog world come equipped with sinewy muscles, sleek bodies, and very high drive. Since many of these dogs never go indoors, the team seeks to sedate them for their surgeries very quickly so that they are not too stressed inside the clinic.

As well as a spay, Dr. Gina performed a surgery to repair a cherry eye on one of the working dogs. Cherry eye is a largely hereditary condition whereby a gland located in the corner of the eye becomes inflamed and everts. The condition is aptly named, as an aflicted dog ends up with a large, cherry red protrusion in the inside corner of the eye. Cherry eye surgery is tricky and has about a 50/50 success rate in the best of circumstances. Given that this can be a very irritating condition for a dog, hopefully this surgery is successful! It certainly has a great shot given that, as is the standard with CAAT veterinarians, Dr. Gina is a fantastic surgeon.

Sunday was a bit of a dismal day, weather-wise. This team has been very fortunate throughout this trip, as the weather has largely been clear and sometimes even sunny. The sight of the endless blue sky peppered with clouds climbing over the vast expanse of red and yellow tundra is a breathtaking one indeed! Sunday, however, it rained. Not too much, but enough to paint the dirt roads with rivulets of reddish-brown mud. The team was intrigued at the start of the trip to find that the dirt here gets it's color from iron deposits in the soil. At this point, it's a normal part of the day to get home and brush off pink crusty mud from one's shoes and pant legs!

In the afternoon on Sunday, some team members headed home for much-needed and much-deserved naps. The rest of the team followed later and, after another delicious meal, retired to bed early. There were several surgeries lined up for Monday morning and everyone wanted to get a good sleep.

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