Vets check every paw ahead of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Veterinarians give elite sled dogs checkups
Veterinarians give elite sled dogs checkups(northern news now)
Published: Jan. 28, 2023 at 5:05 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CARLTON, MN. -- Tom Bauer and his team of sled dogs are no strangers to the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon with an over 30-year career of sled dog racing.

“Sky Harris is racing our eight-dog team in the 120 and we will be starting out on Sunday,” said Tom Bauer, a sled dog owner.

Before Harris and Bauer’s dogs’ takeoff Sunday, they and the other competing teams faced a team of about 20 veterinarians and vet techs at the Black Bear Casino Resort who must approve that the dogs are healthy and ready to race.

“I pretty much know they’re all ready to go and I just like seeing the vets go through and establish that for their own benefit,” said Bauer.

They’re making sure that the hundreds of dogs competing in this year’s Beargrease are ready for the trek to Grand Portage.

“Our race is 300 miles basically over three days,” said Jeremy Miller, a member of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon Board of Directors. “These dogs can easily burn 10,000 calories a day in these conditions, so they have to be in tip-top shape, they have to have tip-top nutrition, and the vet care is a part of making sure that they are taken care of.”

Combing through each paw so that the dog owners, like Bauer, can ensure the health and welfare before they begin mushing.

“They’re checking for general nutrition, they’re checking for hydration, they’re checking for healthy weight, muscle tone, making sure their feet are ready to go, and that they’re healthy and don’t have any injuries,” said Miller.

Creating a rush of excitement for the dogs and their owners as they prepare to hit the trails.

“The veterinarians know that we probably know more about our dogs than anybody,” said Bauer. “We take great pride in bringing them to the race and having the veterinarians go, they’re great.”

Now, it’s off to the races.

“We’re really excited,” said Bauer. “We have a really exciting team that has been moving fast. See a team that looks like they love doing this, it’s really awesome.”

After each check, the dogs approved for racing were marked on their leg.

If they were marked on their nose, they will not be allowed to compete this year.

Each dog’s exam results are put into a vet profile to keep as a reference during wellness checks during the race.