What does a musher do on the sled for hours?

What does a musher do on a sled for hours at a time? Well, 16 dogs ahead of you keeps one occupied watching all those guys working hard. You have to be always attentive to anything developing as to health issues, orthopedic or soreness problems, equipment staying together, what is up ahead on the trail, how long you have been traveling, what to do at the next stop, what you did at the last stop, when did I drink last, do I have to pee… Watching the dogs is obviously a huge deal and there are clues as to problems...

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Vet Care in the Iditarod

Caring for the dog - the vets of the Iditarod One part of the Iditarod Race that doesn't garner much press is the care the dogs receive during the race and what happens if they are “dropped”, or left behind at a checkpoint, by the musher. What really happens behind the scenes by these volunteer veterinarians and assistants is often unheralded. Stu Nelson is the Chief Veterinarian and has been for about 20 years now. He heads up a team of roughly 36 volunteer vets from around the world that travel to Alaska to lend their services to the race. With...

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What is an Alaskan Husky?

With the Iditarod around the corner, I will be putting out some articles about different aspects of training, the race, the dogs, the mushers and all the rest, up 'til I am on a sled . Here goes. What is an Alaskan Husky? The Alaskan Husky is not a pure bred breed recognized by any official organization, but is defined only by its purpose, which is that of a highly efficient dog that pulls a sled. The Alaskan Husky is a blend of various Nordic breeds that may often be crossed with other breeds for various traits that are looked upon to...

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Drahtaar takes contest with perfect score

A note from a happy customer and a dog that has been kicking butt in competition: “My dog, Lucky vom Rainmaker (Deutsch – Drahthaar) was top scoring dog this year (2014) in the prestigious JGV-USA Oberlaender with a perfect score of 196. This score was the highest score in North America for all HZP Events. The HZP is a test that evaluates the advanced natural abilities of a versatile hunting dog. Most of the dogs who run a HZP are between 10 and 24 months of age. A full HZP (with 5 dogs) will usually last for an entire day. An...

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The Itchy Pet

It is the start of the itchy season and I am getting a lot of questions. So, here is an article that we did a few years back that might be very helpful with trying to diagnosis what is causing your dog or cat to scratch. "The Itchy Animal-How to Understand What is Going On and How to Try to Fix It. This is an article by Dr. Tim that many may find interesting and helpful. Share it with others, please. The itchy dog or cat. By far the most common issue I’ve seen over the years as a veterinarian....

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How to best feed your puppy

How much to feed my puppy is a frequent question that is asked. The answer is in your hands. So, first off, pups do best being fed 2-3 times a day. Remember also that when a pup eats they often have to go outside for a nature break within 5 minutes, so that will help you with predicting and house training much more quickly. Next, the guidelines on bags of food are just that - rough guidelines. I like to recommend feeding enough food so we can feel the ribs and still have some cushion present, thus they are not...

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Polydactyl cats-why do they have so many toes

Pictured below is a patient of ours named “Butter.” “Butter” has 26 toes - the most I have ever seen and one off from the world record!  An interesting note here is that I have worked in two Great Lakes  coastal communities (Huron and Superior) and have seen a large over-representation of these cats that I never saw in other  veterinary hospitals where I've worked. Seafaring days gone by must have brought some cats ashore that viewed "any port in a storm” more than in the literal sense.....  A polydactyl cat is a cat with a congenital physical anomaly; a genetic mutation that causes...

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The Large Breed Dog

The large breed dog versus the rest; let’s take a look at some of the facts we know. Different investigations over they years have demonstrated a definite need for specific nutrients to be in ranges for the proper development of a puppy; for instance, let us look at calcium. Studies were done feeding Great Danes diets with calcium levels of 0.55% dry matter, 1.1% dry matter and 3.3% dry matter (DM). The puppies on the 0.55% showed pathological fractures, indicating too low of a calcium amount in their diet. This was reversible once they transitioned to a higher calcium based...

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Stepped in a puddle of urine lately?

Stepping in a puddle of urine in the house...purposeful, or just can’t hold it? Here are a few reasons why this might be happening that are important to know. A dog or a cat with a urinary tract infection often will have urgency and start to urinate in the house. Usually this is evidenced by small amounts of urine on horizontal surfaces versus vertical surfaces. An animal urinating on something vertical is often marking, as if leaving a sign designating their turf or territory. This is important to distinguish, as they are completely different paths we would take to treat. Another...

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Whiskers and the cat; whats the deal?

What is it about a cat’s whiskers that leaves us puzzled… Whiskers are a type of long, thick hair. The importance of whiskers lies in the fact that they are deeply rooted in follicles, which are surrounded by a muscle tissue that is very rich in nerves and sensory cells. These nerve cells in the roots are then connected to a special area of the cat’s brain. While whiskers serve many functions, the main function of whiskers is to work as a type of environmental scanning system. Cats don’t actually need to touch the objects with their whiskers to detect...

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Large breed diets-fact or fiction?

Large breed dog food. Is it for real or is it just marketing? Breeds such as a Labrador, or the “large breed” type, have been shown in studies to have needs for calcium of a certain range or they risk having bone deformities occur during their puppy year. Poodles were also tested on this same study platform and shown to tolerate very high levels of calcium with no ill effects, where if the large breed received the same diet they would end up with curved bones. If both types of dogs were given the same lower level of calcium in their...

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The fat cat - why it happens

Does your cat look like he might be a few pounds too big these days? How he/she got that way is the question of the day. So, cats get fat because: 1. They get fixed (not that they were broken) 2. They live indoors more these days 3. They eat a lot of food that has tons of carbohydrates. 4. The level of protein in their food is too low, plus it is not animal-based. 5. We have placed our eating schedule onto them - that is, 2-3 meals a day, versus a browsing- type schedule which they do in...

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