By Heather Theunissen
It’s mating season in the Yukon Territory, which means animals’ hormones are raging, and Dr. Michelle Oakley has to be ready for anything. In this episode of Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet, Dr. Oakley gets down and dirty with Priscilla the cow, buckles up for an Alpaca rodeo, and collects a semen sample from Rocky the wild Wood Bison. While Michelle travels the rugged Yukon Territory protecting threatened species, her husband, Shane, is back at home, protecting their teenage daughters from birds, bees, and boys.
Go Deep or Go Home
With no grocery store for hundreds of miles, many people in the Yukon Territory rely on their cows to produce fresh milk for family and neighbors. Although she has produced milk in the past, Cain Vangel’s cow, Priscilla, is unable to get pregnant and produce milk this year. Afraid that something might be wrong, Cain calls Dr. Oakley for advice. Once she arrives, Dr. Oakley pulls on a full, shoulder-length glove, and performs a rectal exam to examine Priscilla’s ovaries.
As Priscilla’s rectal muscles begin to clamp, Dr. Oakley, a total pro, stays relaxed and doesn’t fight her contractions. Dr. Oakley discovers that Priscilla has a 3 cm cyst on her left ovary, prohibiting her from producing eggs, having calves, and producing milk. In hopes of increasing her fertility, Dr. Oakley gives Priscilla a shot and hopes that she responds to the treatment.
The Alpaca Rodeo
Dr. Oakley’s next stop is Midnight Farm, Carolyn Campbell’s alpaca farm. Alpacas have been domesticated animals for over 6,000 years and many people, including Carolyn Campbell, use alpacas for their thick, resilient hair. Although they’re not native to the Yukon Territory, their coats are sheered to make warm socks, yarn, and liners. Dr. Oakley stops by to perform physical exams and deworm Carolyn’s alpacas, ridding them of any internal parasites. What starts as a regular vet appointment, quickly turns into a wild, alpaca rodeo, as some of the alpacas are quite feisty! Handling alpacas isn’t always easy, and one alpaca, in particular, is putting up quite the fight! With Carolyn’s help, Dr. Oakley manages to keep her patients still, but she still has to dodge one frustrated, spitting alpaca.
After wrangling the alpacas, Dr. Oakley heads to the Yukon Wildlife Preserve (YWP) to check on a Caribou bull with a mysterious growth on his ear. As it’s mating season, Randy Hallock fears that the bull’s growth may be contagious and infect his entire Caribou herd. To get a better look at the growths, Dr. Oakley darts the bull with a sedative, hoping to give the bull a full exam before his anesthesia wears off. Once the Caribou is down, Dr. Oakley discovers he is in stable condition and takes a biopsy of his growths. The biopsy results reveal that the bull’s wart-like masses are benign, meaning he is not contagious. Although this is good news for the Caribou herd, Dr. Oakley gets worried as it takes longer than expected for the bull’s anesthesia to wear off. Randy and Dr. Oakley defuse an ugly situation for their young patient, as he gets a few visitors in his sleepy, sedated state.
Bears, Wolves, and Boys
Back at the house, Michelle’s husband Shane, seems to be defusing a situation of his own as his teenage daughters, Sierra and Maya, get a few, male visitors. While the girls think he’s being too overprotective, Shane thinks he’s just protecting his girls from the many dangers out in the world, including boys. Kai and Chevy just want to say hi to the girls, but Shane has other plans for them as he puts ‘em to work, instead!
Rocky the Wood Bison
Dr. Oakley’s last stop of the day is the Providence Wood Bison Ranch, where she assists with a Wood Bison conservation project. Wood Bison, an endangered species in the Yukon Territory, are now considered a threatened species. To protect this species, Dr. Oakley and the team at Wood Bison Ranch, need to make sure all of the males are healthy enough to mate by coaxing them to a special pen, collecting semen samples, and conducting semen evaluations. For Dr. Oakley, this means, getting up close and very personal with Rocky, the Wood Bison!
For more adventures with Dr. Oakley, tune in to the next episode of Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet: Reindeer Pains Saturday at 9P on Nat Geo WILD.