Sunday, 24 February 2008

February 24, 2008 Change For Iditarod Team Member

What the heck was I thinking???? I should have known that announcing my Iditarod team so early was just tempting the fates.

When we did blood work on the crew last week there was a little 'blip' in Spidey's results. It didn't seem like a big deal and we made arrangements for her test to be repeated when we were in getting our vet checks done at the Big Lake Susitna Veterinary Clinic yesterday.

Well, it turns out her 'blip' was a little bit more of an issue then we thought. Spidey is feeling super good but it is looking like she had an 'event' sometime recently that set her red blood cells back a bit.  The fact is that her body will not have enough time to get back to the peak condition needed for Iditarod. We are doing some treatment and follow up testing on Spider, but she is expected to make a full recovery and none of this should affect her ability to race in the future, but it will stop her from participating in this year's race.

Spidey and I are bummed; she is a great little leader and such a happy, fun dog to work with!! That said there are still a lot of great leaders in the team, so it really should 'hurt' us any!!

Now X, he's not bummed, in fact he is doing the 'Happy Dance' all around his stakeout, as he is the one selected to step into Spidey's spot.

Anyway, the rest of our vet checks went well. Dr. Baetsle of the Big Lake Susitna Clinic ( has examined every one of my Iditarod teams over the years. He is a tough vet and I know a few that don't go to him because he can be 'too picky', but that is exactly why we use him. Every little bump, bruise, and scrape on the dogs is noted on their vet forms. Every joint is flexed, foot examined, mouth inspected and ear peered into. If Dr. Baetsle has any hesitation about a dog running the race, they don't race.

He is also just plain invested in the kennel. He has worked with our team for so many years that he knows the parents of most of the dogs that are on the team today. He always asks about the dogs and happenings back in Alberta. He recognizes new names on my dog list and always inquires about the parents, etc on them. He and his staff have mourned losses with us and celebrated victories. Although on a good year, I may only see them a couple times on my visit to Alaska, they are a very integral part of our team. Heck, he even came in on his day off yesterday to do our team exam!

Dr. Baetsle was very impressed with the condition of the team. He complimented the condition and weight on each of the dogs. Although there were a few minor splits on the odd foot (which we were already aware of and treating), there was no swelling, stiffness, or injury (old or new) in any joints. He was very pleased with how flexible everyone was (an important thing for a performance dog).  He even paid special attention to Jr's front to make sure his injury from last year was completely healed. It is. Dr. Baetsle couldn't even figure out which shoulder it had been in until he looked up the records from last year on the computer.

So, we are all done with vet checks on the dogs now. Runs with them over the next few days are just to keep them limber and ready to roll - especially with the icy trail conditions around here.

All for this morning!


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