North Wapiti Siberian
Iditarod 2008 - Tales from the Trail
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
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
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
Anyway, the rest of our vet checks went well. Dr. Baetsle of the
Big Lake Susitna Clinic (www.blsvh.org)
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
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
All for this morning!
Karen's Diary - Iditarod 2008 Edition
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