Veterinarian sets up shop in Iqaluit

Leia Cunningham, who was born and raised in the Apex area of Iqaluit, has established a mobile veterinary care business.

Nunavut-born Leia Cunningham starts her own mobile animal clinic

A veterinarian has set up shop in Iqaluit, making her the only resident animal doctor in Nunavut.

Leia Cunningham, who was born and raised in the Apex area of the city, wants to open a permanent clinic in that part of town, but for now has established a mobile veterinary care business she calls "NunaVet."

Leia Cunningham of Iqaluit has set up a mobile clinic in the Nunavut capital. (CBC)

"People are so happy that there is finally a vet here," she said. "It's overwhelming. People are just so happy when I come to their house."

Cunningham graduated earlier this year from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. Previously, Iqaluit’s Rotary Club helped arrange for a veterinarian to visit the city twice a year.

So far a lot of the appointments have been for vaccinations and general checkups, Cunningham said. She added common ailments she sees with animals in Iqaluit are worms and injuries from car accidents or falls.

"There have been a lot of just general checkups, where I go to their house and I take a history about their animal, if they are on any medications or if they’re up-to-date on vaccines, what they’re eating, any problems that the owners think that the dog or cat might have," she said.

Being the only animal doctor in town at the moment, she has to handle all the emergencies on her own. But she plans to share the business with her husband, who's also a veterinarian, once he joins her in the city.

Cunningham said once they have a building in Iqaluit, she will be able to travel to other communities in the territory to provide care.