Veterinarians and Volunteers Help Mushers Prepare for Tonight’s Races

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2014 UP 200 Dog Sled Race in Marquette, Michigan

It takes a team of veterinarians, vet techs,  and volunteers to check all the dogs!

Marquette, Michigan  –  February 14, 2014  –  Mushers and their dogs are gearing up for tonight’s start of the U.P. 200 and Midnight Run dog sled races in downtown Marquette. Part of that preparation is a mandatory vet check for each dog to ensure they are fit enough to endure the challenge of racing.

At the vet check this morning, I observed the examination of Midnight Run Musher Amber Evans’ team, Silent Night Sled Dogs from Milaca, Minnesota.

Amber and her husband along with their handlers, assisted the vets and volunteers during the examination of every dog on the team.

Dr. Karen Mallum, owner of Lake Road Veterinary Clinic in Ironwood, and Dr. Elroy Roedel of Loyal Veterinary Service in Wisconsin performed the physical exams on the dogs of the Silent Night Sled Dogs team.

UP 200 Dog Sled Race, Marquette, Michigan

Elroy Roedel, DVM, of Loyal Veterinary Service in Wisconsin, checks Toby with Amber Evans.

The exam includes checking the dogs vital signs and the color of their eyes and gums. Dr. Roedel said this helps them determine a dog’s general health.

Dr. Roedel also looks at the dogs’ feet to check for abrasions, cracks in the pads and splits between toes. A range of motion check of each leg helps him to detect any joint pain or stiffness in the dogs’ legs.

Each part of the examination helps veterinarians determine the overall health and fitness of each dog.

After a dog is examined and deemed fit to race, a mark is made on the dog’s right shoulder so race officials can easily see that each dog has been through a vet check. The marks are unique for each team for easy identification.

UP 200 Marquette, Michigan Dog Sled Race

Amber Evans’ Toby of the Silent Night Sled Dogs team of Milaca, Minnesota poses for the camera.

With nearly 50 sled dog teams from around the United States and Canada in Marquette today, the vet check is no small job.

Teams of veterinarians and volunteers were at Riverside Auto Group this morning performing the exams. You can view a complete list of this year’s veterinary team on the UP 200 website,

The U.P. 200 Mushers will take off from downtown Marquette starting at 7 pm and the Midnight Run Mushers will take off after the last U.P. 200 team.

Be sure to bring your family (but not your pets) to the races tonight and don’t forget to get your official U.P. 200 cowbell at the race headquarters in the Marquette YMCA!


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