Saturday, 24 February 2007

February 24, 2007 2006 Iditarod Foot Problem Rumors

Time we put these rumors to rest….
I thought that I had mentioned in diary entries over the summer some of my thoughts on the problems my team experienced in on Iditarod last year that kept me holed up in Nulato for 24 hours, but since I have been inundated with questions about that over the last few weeks – I’m thinking I didn’t – or didn’t do a very through job of clearing it up.
So let me do that now…
The problem my dog’s had with their feet on the Iditarod Trail last year were not due to zinc deficiencies.
That was merely speculation thrown out at the time with no testing to back it up. The vets and I were just looking for things that might explain what we were seeing in the dogs.
Looking back on it now, and with testing to back us up, we are very confident that a zinc deficiency was not the problem.
As to what the problem was, I don’t know that I have a definitive answer, but probably the extreme cold, maybe something bacterial, and maybe the many pre Iditarod ‘race’ miles I had on the dogs played into it.
It was not a foot problem like I’ve ever seen before – and I doubt one I will see again.
I will be doing a few things slightly differently on the race this year, just to be extra cautious. They include a bit more preventative booting and less pre Iditarod racing miles.
I will also be very quick to treat anything I perceive as being less then perfect in the dog’s feet.
That is it though - no dietary changes, no dog changes – I do not believe any of those are called for. Remember, this team had gone through numerous Iditarods and a great deal of other races and training miles without this sort of issue in the past.
I am confident that this is a strong and healthy dog team. The testing they have undergone the past week has just backed up my beliefs. All the techs and vets working on them have been very complimentary about their condition – and I know the dog’s attitudes are top notch.
We are good to go….

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