ID: Vet Checks, Blood Draw and ECGs

Monday was a busy day for all the potential Iditarod dogs at SP Kennel!

We loaded up 44 dogs into two trucks and headed to town. First stop was to get blood drawn by the volunteer vet tech team for the Iditarod veterinarian team to run several tests to ascertain if the dogs are fit to race.

Lydia has blood drawn; Iron's heart rhythms are recorded

Next, each dog got an Electrocardiogram (ECG) that measures electrical function and heart rhythms and can alert the doctors to any anomalies that might rule the dog out of racing.

Allen gives Lydia some love as she's on the ECG table

Thanks to the Iditarod volunteer vet tech team of Charlotte Talbert, Samantha Freeborn and Tabitha Jones on the ECG, Sabrina Pennington and Kate Brumbaugh doing the blood draws and Harmony Frazier doing the essential computer data inputting ensuring the correct microchip number is recorded against the right dog. This is important as the microchips are scanned at the start line and all the way down the trail, and if it doesn't match with the recorded results the dog cannot run.

Next we loaded everyone back into the trucks and headed to T Rose Veterinarian Services for the thorough external vet check. Dr Rose checked weight, coat and skin; eyes, ears and nose. She checked everyones teeth and listened for the heart rate and respiration function. Next she checked range of motion on limbs and looked for any issues in "private areas". Not EVERYTHING was external, however, we did take temperatures...

Along with all that, we also declare the vaccination status for distemper, hepatitis, para-influenza, parvo, kennel cough, lepto and rabies. All dogs are also de-wormed prior to the race and drug tested during the race to ensure no banned performance enhancers or medications are used.

Thanks to Dr Tamara Rose; we appreciate your support for SP Kennel and the care and attention you pay our dogs.

T Rose checks out Willie's range of motion

All dogs that run the Iditarod have to pass every test and be declared fit to run. As for the musher... there is no medical involved but they are drug tested in the White Mountain checkpoint for banned substances. Also, rookie mushers must have qualified to run the race by being 'signed-off' by officials in a number of shorter qualifying races. This is to ensure the musher has the skills to take care of not only him or herself, but the 16 canine athletes in their charge.

EDIT: The blood draw and ECG is part of the entry fee and if we were to do the vet checks in Anchorage on one of the Iditarod organised 'vet check days' that would be covered also. Because we choose to have T Rose do our vet checks locally we pay for that ourselves.