News & Events

News Release: Nova Scotia Veterinarian Honoured Nationally for the Care and Rehabilitation of Over 400 Injured and Orphaned Wildlife Each Year

July 6, 2018

VANCOUVER, B.C. – Dr. Helene Van Doninck has been honoured with the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) Humane Award for her volunteer veterinary care and rehabilitation of over 400 injured and orphaned wildlife each year.

In 2001, Dr. Van Doninck and her husband co-founded the Cobequid Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on her ownDr. Helene Van Doninck property where, to this date, she provides volunteer veterinary care and rehabilitation to over 400 injured and orphaned wildlife each year. In 2014, through fundraising activities she organized and managed, the Rehabilitation Centre saw the opening of a Bald Eagle Flight Centre, which provides space to strengthen flight muscles and increase the odds of successful release into the wild. The Flight Centre is the only structure of its kind in Canada.

A graduate of the Atlantic Veterinary College, she is particularly interested in birds of prey, oil contamination of birds, and lead poisoning in bald eagles and she has been working with hunters and anglers for the past 10 years to encourage voluntary transition away from lead based ammunition and fishing tackle, both for the health of humans and wildlife. She firmly believes wildlife matters and actively encourages other veterinarians to develop wildlife-friendly practices.

“[Her] selfless way of life has saved, rehabilitated, and improved the lives of countless wildlife across the Maritime provinces and beyond,” says Dr. Jennifer McKay, veterinarian and co-owner of the Central Nova Animal Hospital. “Besides treating wildlife medically and surgically, she is highly involved in educating others as well. Through presentations and campaigns she educates hunters on the use of non-lead ammunition in order to both save birds and humans from lead consumption.”

Despite her busy schedule, Dr. Van Doninck also works part-time at several veterinary clinics, is an avid member of the Nova Scotia Bird Society where she sits on the board of directors, and is an oiled Wildlife Response and Emergency Preparedness Consultant/Trainer.

The CVMA Humane Award, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, recognizes leadership in the care and well-being of animals. This award is presented to a veterinarian whose work is judged to have contributed significantly to the welfare and well-being of animals.

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The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national and international voice for Canada’s veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Each year, CVMA proudly recognizes individuals and groups for their outstanding contribution to veterinary medicine. Visit to learn more about CVMA.

Tanya Frye, Manager of Communications & Public Relations
Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA)
613-236-1162 ext. 128