Today the Iditarod Trail Committee Headquarters was hopping – or should I say tail-wagging? Today was the final day for Pre-Race Vet checks. Mushers can have their final checks done by their own vets, or they can take advantage of the race vets and get free checkups at the headquarters.
The vet checks are very thorough. The dogs get an EKG (to check their heart), blood work, and a physical exam. Pretty much every inch of the dog that could be checked is inspected. In fact, you can see the entire checklist here: LINK
I pulled into Headquarters today in time to see Newton Marshall and Curt Perano finish up their vet checks. Newton Marshall is from Jamaica and is running a team comprised of dogs from several different kennels. Curt Perano is originally from New Zealand where he currently owns and operates Under Dog New Zealand which is a sled dog tour company in his home country.
Each musher is allowed to have up to twenty dogs checked per team. This allows the mushers a little more time to decide the final makeup of their teams. They really don’t need to have the final list until they leave the starting line on Sunday morning!
An article in the news tonight reports that about forty of the 69 teams entered in the race took advantage of the chance to have the Iditarod vets examine the dogs. Think about how many dogs that is! The vets and the vet technicians are just a few of the volunteers already hard at work preparing to get the race started.
Tomorrow the mushers will all arrive at the Millennium hotel for the mandatory musher meeting that begins at 8am! And then tomorrow evening is the Musher Banquet Draw! The excitement just keeps building and building!