The telemedicine service of the shelter of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vétérinaire (CHUV) of the Université de Montréal just received a financial boost thanks to one of Canada’s leading funders of animal welfare. PetSmart Charities of Canada has provided a $30,000 grant to support the Telemedicine Fund intended for telemedicine and vaccination activities for shelter animals and owned animals in the northern communities of Quebec. There is also a portion of the grant dedicated to a related student research project.

The CHUV has been providing free telemedicine services to the Northern communities of Nunavik and James Bay since 2008. These communities currently do not have access to local veterinary care and the telemedicine veterinary assistance service makes it possible to fulfill part of their needs. Veterinary advice, diagnoses and prescription writing can be carried out through this service, thanks to, the use of technological tools. The objective of the project is to continue to improve the telemedicine services provided, while promoting its use among residents of the communities. In addition, in order to improve the overall health of communities, the project also assess the possibility of carrying out targeted sterilization activities.

As a part of this project, communities are also visited once a year by CHUV veterinarians to implement the vaccination program for Nordic dogs against rabies. Recently, this program was extended to basic vaccination and deworming, allowing an improvement of public health thanks to the grant provided by PetSmart Charities of Canada.

The project also aims to develop an educational component in addition to awareness-raising tools for Northern communities and for training resources in the community (nurses, public health workers, etc.) providing them with the necessary support. It will also expose veterinary students to the realities faced by vulnerable clienteles regarding the accessibility of veterinary care.

Across the country, PetSmart Charities of Canada has provided over $300,000 in support to some of the nation’s foremost veterinary schools. The grants all support similar initiatives that enhance the practical experience of future veterinarians while also improving access to high-quality wellness services and medical care for pets. The funding supports low-cost veterinary services in communities where they are needed most, and can help reduce barriers pet owners may face due to language/translation challenges, socio-economic status or access to pet-friendly transportation.

“At PetSmart Charities of Canada, we believe that all pet guardians want to provide the very best care to their pets, and we want to help them access that care,” says Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at the national pet charity. “At the same time, we know that students pursue a career in veterinary medicine because they want to help all pets in need. Grants like this one enable us to bring those two principles together by funding community veterinary sevices that will help pets and their people to live their healthiest, happiest lives together.”