Friday morning we took 21 dogs to kennel sponsor North Pole Veterinary Hospital for their Yukon Quest pre-race examinations. Because Allen is a veteran racer he is able to have vet checks done privately.

Dr Dawn Brown, who herself races sprint dogs, with the help of vet assistant Mara, thoroughly checked out our athletes from top to toe.

Spark gets checked while Commando waits patiently, “What are you writing Moira?”, “I’m totally the best one aren’t I?”

The checks include:

  • reading and recording microchips to ensure the right dogs are included on the team and so they can easily be identified by vets who may not necessarily know one dog from the next
  • examining dental and gums. They note the colour of the gums which can be an indicator of illness.
  • checking that eyes, ears and lymph glands and ‘personal areas’ are normal
  • recording weight, temperature, heart rate and respiration rate and checking for any abnormalities
  • testing range of motion in front and back legs and wrists to check for any soreness
  • examining skin and feet, noting if there are any abrasions or bootie rubs etc to be treated before the race
  • fixing an overall body score out of 9 (those of you with pets may have seen this chart on your vet’s noticeboard where 1 is too skinny and 9 is too big).
  • ensuring vaccinations for rabies, parvovirus, distemper and bordatella are up-to-date and documented
  • they also note for any medications the dog may be on, and how recently, to ensure no banned substances have been ingested. Note: the dogs are drug tested throughout the race also.

For more information you can check out the Yukon Quest website.

A number of our dogs have quite a history with North Pole Vet – the “Five” litter were cared for there when they were a few days old, Ginger later had surgery there, Outlaw and Clyde were born by cesarian section there and Mac had his salivary gland surgery there. Thanks to the North Pole team for being part of our team!

8 Responses

  • WooWhooo ! ! ! On to the Quest. Will be watching on my laptop and with y'all in spirit. GO BLACK TEAM ! ! !
    -atm & blr
    Onset, MA

  • So excited for the 1000 and 300 Quest to begin. It has already been a busy racing season for SP Kennel, and there is a long way to go!


  • Yeah!!! Healthy SPK sled dogs for the Yukon Quest! We are super excited about the races this weekend….what an awesome time to be a Musher, Sled Dog, or Race Fan!

  • My favorite picture here is that of Allen sitting with his hand gently resting on Commando. If there is any doubt of the love SPK has for their dogs let this put that to rest. This wasn't staged, this wasn't for publicity. This is just "a guy and his dog". Pretty special guy and dog, but the simplicity in it really drew me in. Thank you!

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