2018 Race Veterinarians

 

 Cristina Hansen, DVM - Head Veterinarian

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

I like diseases. Us humans declared that we had conquered infectious disease with the discovery of penicillin in 1928. But boy were we wrong! Most people don’t think about infectious diseases every day, but they are EVERYWHERE and are evolving new ways to outsmart us every day. I am particularly interested in wildlife diseases, and those that can be transmitted from animals to people (zoonotic disease).

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. I studied and researched infectious diseases during that time. So I guess that makes me somewhat of a specialist in disease.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

This will be my 9 th straight year with the Quest, so I have LOTS of memories! A favorite that comes to mind is this: In 2014 I was awoken by a frantic checker in the middle of the night at the Braeburn lodge (on my birthday, I’m pretty sure) to bring a dropped dog form to a musher out in the dog yard a couple hundred yards away. I ran outside in my longjohns, unzipped parka, and boots and took care of it. It was only while I was sleepily walking back to my room that I looked at a thermometer and saw that it was -50 F. I like it that after awhile those temperatures don’t really seem all that bad.

What are your hobbies?

I like camping, hunting, hiking, riding my horse (Mac), running, skiing, ice hockey, knitting, picking berries, reading science fiction, and cooking. I tend to get bored, so I need lots of hobbies!

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

No sled dogs. I have a quarter horse (Mac), a sweet 13 year old orange kitty (Adak), and a very loud jenday conure named Pluto.

What’s your favorite animal?

I used to always say giraffe. But I think it’s caribou now.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I began volunteering because I wanted to see more of the North and work with world-class canine athletes. I keep coming back because I enjoy all of the dogs and people that I get to see along the trail every year. Additionally, the Yukon Quest is a challenge for me, and I like a good challenge.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

A solid training program, good nutrition, and knowing your dogs as individuals. And of course working with your veterinarian regularly.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

I have worked numerous other mid distance races in Alaska. Most notably is 10 years with the Copper Basin 300.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

Seeing new and old friends on the trail and working with these amazing dogs.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

I remember sitting in the snow on a sunny day at Pelly Crossing years ago (2012, I think) talking to a musher for half an hour about foot ointments. He was tending to his dogs, was probably cold, hungry, and hadn’t slept in days. But in that moment, when dealing with a minor foot issue in a dog, he didn’t care about any of that. He wanted to learn as much as he could so that he could make the best decision for that dog.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

I was pet sitting for a friend last summer. Her dog wanted to go out early in the morning. I got out of bed and put him on a leash and went outside so he could do his business. I was in my pajamas, slippers, and didn’t have my glasses on. He saw a squirrel and lunged for it. I was woefully unprepared for this and he yanked me off my feet and onto the gravel of my driveway. I have a nice scar on my knee to show for it. I still watch this dog too.

 

 

 Andrew Haertel, DVM

 Hometown: Portland, Oregon

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Cardiology, there’s a lot of heart in it

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what? Board-certified in laboratory animal medicine

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race? Howling with the dogs

What are your hobbies? Running and camping

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. I have a pitbull named Burger; she would sign up for the Quest just for more paw massages.

What’s your favorite animal? Snow monkeys

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? Love of the sport

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Knowing your dogs well

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? See everyone on the race again!   

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?  Kept my hands warm in their armpits during veterinary exams

 

 

Alan Taylor, DVM

Hometown: New South Wales, Australia

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Performance animals over many years of practice

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what? No

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?  When the blizzard stopped after two days of minus 35 plus a 70 mph wind & sleeping in tents without proper heating.

What are your hobbies? Travel, wine appreciation, motorbike riding

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. Bred German Shepherds for 20 years & have a Maremma for sheep guard duties.

What’s your favorite animal? Black Rhino

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? Enjoyed the 2016 YQ after doing 5 Iditarods

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Knowledge & close attention by the musher with help from the Veterinarian

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. 5 Iditarods ( first one 2008 ) plus 2016 YQ

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017 YQ? Meeting up with the YQ team & some of the mushers

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care. After being reduced to 6 dogs just over half way in the race a musher nursed these dogs to still finish the 1,000 mile race

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you? Remembered me several years later when we visited the owner.

 

 

 Chris Lam, DVM

 Hometown: Inuvik, Northwest Territories

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

Cardiology and surgery are my favorite area in vet as it combines internal medicine, diagnostic imaging and surgery all in one area, and it links essentially all the other organ systems in a logical fashion. It is basically pluming and electricity work!

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

No but I have recently finished a small animal rotating internship at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) in University of Guelph, Canada, and I hope to pursue a residency in veterinary cardiology in the future.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

This year’s Yukon’s Quest will actually be my first official sled dog race I’ve participated in which I am very much looking forward to. I have had some dog sledding experience back in the Northwest Territories with different mushers and the degree of expertise and experience those guys have are truly inspirational!

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy all activities that involve getting physical (downhill skiing, racket sports) and musical. I am also a volunteer firefighter for my community in which I am very passionate about. 

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

We have a small cat named Eric. He’s a domestic short hair that was bred initially for research purposes, then became a blood donor for the veterinary school, and is now enjoying retired life happily down under

What’s your favorite animal?

Don’t really have one! All animals are special in their own ways, whether that’s good or “bad” qualities.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

Having recently moved to the north, I have come to learn and love all things northern. Being trained originally way down south in Australia, sled dog medicine is essentially a whole new field for me. Hence why I would love to learn more about it, and what better way to do so than being part of one.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

I think knowing your team well is vital to good sled dog care. Having met quite a few sled dogs up north, each one of them are special and have their little quirks. Some are sprinters, some are endurance runners, some put on weight easily, some don’t, so the care for each dog is essentially individualized. So to me, excellent sled dog care involves getting to know your dogs very well as well as their limits and designing the most appropriate training/racing strategy accordingly.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. First dog race!

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? Getting to know the different participants, and learn from their experience.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

Getting sprayed by anal glands in your face remain to be one of the “funniest” things that dogs to me, but over the years I have perfected the art of diverting the discharge to a more desirable direction.

 

 

Dave Moroney, DVM

Hometown: Victoria, Australia

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Surgery, I enjoy "carpentry"

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what? No

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?  Northern lights with the dogs.

What are your hobbies? Kayaking, hiking, wood working, travel.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. 5 Jack Russels, and 2 pigs (Steve and George, Steve is named after Steve Watson in Braeburn).

What’s your favorite animal? Dog

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? Had done the Iditarod 4 times, wanted to see the Yukon.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Observation and early intervention.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. YQ 2010, 2012, 2013, Iditarod 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007, Beargrease 2000

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017 YQ? The dogs, people, and the snow.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care. Anyone scratching for the health of their team.

 

 

Greta Krafsur, DVM

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

I feel very fortunate because I get play the roles of translational medicine researcher, investigative pathologist and a clinician. While I am a trained pathologist, I really enjoy clinical medicine, providing husbandry and veterinary care for my study cattle and consulting with feedyard managers and staff veterinarians to ensure the health and welfare of beef cattle.

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I am an investigative pathologist and T32 post- doc fellow at the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz School of Medicine in the cardiovascular pulmonary research and developmental lung biology laboratory where I am developing a bovine model of pulmonary hypertension due to left heart dysfunction which not only represents the largest segment of human pulmonary hypertension patients, but also afflicts an alarming number of North American cattle on feed.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

Apparently it was cold at the Carmacks checkpoint during the 2017 Quest, as I suffered a touch of frostbite to my finger tips and more importantly, I broke John Overell’s favorite stethoscope! I had no idea the tubing was FROZEN, so when I went to straighten it so I could perform a heart and lung auscultation to my astonishment it snapped in half!!!!!

What are your hobbies?

My three sons, Joseph (19) and twins, Benjamin and Joshua (18); powerwalking, hiking,reading and escaping to my family’s four generation farm in Estelline, SD.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

I have been fortunate to own three Siberian Huskies during my adult years. Nuiqsut Nanuk, my current Siberian is named after the North Slope village of Nuiqsut.
The North Slope and its people are very special to me, as I spent a great deal of time there before and during my veterinary training.

6What’s your favorite animal?

The Siberian Husky and the Aberdeen Angus Cattle. My home is an eclectic mix of photos, antique books and artifacts pertaining to the use of sled dogs in the exploration and settlement of Alaska and the dominant role Angus cattle have played in shaping the American beef industry.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I wanted to experience firsthand what I believed was truly the toughest sled dog race.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

Observations, a good physical exam and above all, listening to the musher as he or she possesses a depth of knowledge and understanding of his or her dogs that enables race veterinarians to recognize and address individual and team health concerns.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

This will be my 4 th Yukon Quest. My first trip to Alaska was in March 2005 to volunteer for the Iditarod. Not only was I hooked on sled dogs, but I fell in love with the great state of Alaska. I handled sled dogs and worked dropped dogs for many more Iditarod races, and in 2012 was awarded the Doc Lombard scholarship to complete a small study in sled dogs participating in the 2012 Iditarod.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

Reconnecting with my Quest family, and of course seeing the dogs! This year I get to celebrate turning the ripe age of 50 with my Yukon Quest family.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

Being witness to musherscaring for their team first, foregoing their own needs for food and rest and listening to their kind words of love and encouragement for their team.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

Matt Hall’s lead dog Keeper seems to like me for some reason.

 

 

Lori-Jo Gamble, DVM

Hometown: Ithaca, New York

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

Gait, mobility and pain control are my favorite areas of veterinary medicine. Growing up with a paraplegic mother, I also have always been curious about restoration
of normal form and function after injury.

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I am a second year resident in Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. I also obtained a specialized Certification in Canine Physical Rehabilitation (CCRP) from the University of Tennessee.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

The chocolate shakes in Eagle, Alaska! And also strutting with my oversize coat open.

What are your hobbies? Hiking, cycling, martial arts, and cooking.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. I have a Tonkinese cat named Cassya and a small-medium mixed-breed dog named Flynn.

What’s your favorite animal? Ocelot and wolf

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I am very interested in sports medicine and expanding my experience with performance athletes. I am looking forward to gaining experience working with this very
special group of athletes.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

Appropriate nutrition and physical conditioning without forgetting plenty of loving care!

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. Part of the team for the 2017 Yukon Quest.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

Seeing everyone again: veterinarian, technician, mushers, handlers and volunteers… and meals made with moose!

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care. I truly enjoy seeing mushers massaging their dogs.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you? It always makes me laugh when I try to examine dogs and all they want to do is to rub their face in the snow!

 

 

Martin Randle, DVM

Hometown: Salt Spring Island, British Columbia

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

My favourite area of veterinary medicine is orthopaedic surgery. I love putting things back together and monitoring the progress!

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

My specialist training is in veterinary acupuncture (Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (IVAS 2002) and I have a general practitioners certification in small animal surgery (GPCert(SAS) UK 2009..

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

I attended the 1998 Yukon Quest and located myself close to the start and witnessed to thrilling spectacle of the initial drive. Also, my client friend was a pilot for Air Canada and he allowed for me to ride the jump seat throughout the flight from Vancouver after a morning in the simulator. Something not possible nowadays!

What are your hobbies? My hobbies are watching and playing soccer, contemporary history, steam trains and collecting commemorative coins.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. Our pets at home consist of three cats and four American Staffordshire Terriers. Sadly no sled dogs!

What’s your favorite animal? My favourite animal is the polar bear.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

My motivation is pretty well two fold. Whilst practicing in the UK I was the veterinarian for the local chapter of the U.K. Siberian Husky sledge dog racing fraternity from 2005 through 2013 and having visited Whitehorse on three occasions and marvelling at the Yukon environment and not least the camaraderie of the event and also having met Frank Turner at his kennels in 1998.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

I think the most important aspect of sled dog care is to as much as possible, ensure optimum heath therefore keeping the athletes fit and happy.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

My only other experience with the Yukon Quest was as an inquisitive onlooker in 1998. Despite being a regular clinician for the local branch of the British Siberian Husky Sledge dog membership, I only witnessed their training and not any of their races.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

I am looking forward to what I would consider to be the quintessential practicing veterinarian bucket list experience. Of course, also the camaraderie and being part of such a monumental event in arguably a most staggeringly beautiful part of the world.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

I can only refer to the experience of visiting Frank Turner's kennels and marvelling at his exemplary care and passion that he and his family showed for his exceptional animals.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

Possibly the funniest without telling a long, long story, is the time when I mislaid my prescription glasses. This is more an account of what a dog has done for me rather than to me!

Back in 2013 not long before we moved back to Canada, I had mislaid my glasses somewhere on the practice property and had to rely on back up over the counter substitute. I mentioned this to a client, during a consultation, who was presenting her dog for a vaccination booster. She suggested that I allow her dog to take the scent from my replacement glasses and she would take a look around the grounds of the office and she what her collie cross could find. Lo and behold, within minutes, her collie bitch had found them squeezed alongside a railway sleeper which we used as part of a raised garden. What a relief her finding my $500 prescription glasses.
Some of the things dogs have done to me range from the funny to indescribable! Better discussed over light refreshment!

 

 

 Mercedes Pinto, DVM

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Emergency-I have the biggest impact and am rarely bored

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

Watching for teams all night on the riverbank at Scroggie with a bonfire, a cup of coffee, wonderful friends, and a blazing Aurora.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.  4 cats, 2 ferrets, and a part-time husky.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? At this point it’s an addiction!

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Good basic care, training, and nutrition are key.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. YQ since 2011, Local races when I can-Runaway Jim this year, TR200/100, Tanana River Challenge

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? The comradery

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you? You probably don’t want to ask a vet this question

 

 

 Molly Yazwinski, DVM

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Nutrition and sports medicine

What are your hobbies? Skiing, skijoring, cooking

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. Yes. I have 4 huskies and 1 corgi.

What’s your favorite animal? Puffins

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? Working with sled dogs and spending time on the race trail

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Training

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? Seeing friends and working with the dogs

 

 

 Noel Kubat, DVM

 Hometown: Elizabethtown, Kentucky

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why? Herd health and Preventative Medicine.

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what? I have specialty training in Veterinary Preventative Medicine

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race? I don’t know that I have a favorite, I love watching the teams cross the finish line

What are your hobbies? Spending time with my family, camping, hiking, gardening, running, reading, horseback riding, traveling

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

My 6 year old daughter wishes we had sled dogs! We have 2 dogs, 2 red tabby cats, 3 horses and 1 pony, 10 chickens, and a small herd of American British White Park cattle

What’s your favorite animal? American British White Park Cows

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

My brother-in- law introduced me to the sport of sled dog racing while I was in Vet School and I’ve been hooked ever since!

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Proper conditioning and nutrition

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. Copper Basin 2015, Yukon Quest 2017

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? Working with my fellow Veterinarians, the Mushers and their amazing canine athletes!

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

I think there are too many good stories to share. I am always amazed at how aware mushers are of their dogs’ wellbeing everything
from inappetance to a funny gate while on the trail.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you? There are too many stories to share!

 

 

Thorsten Hahn, DVM

Hometown: Ratingen, Germany

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

I run a general medicine practice and I like to see a variety of different cases every day.

What are your hobbies? Family / dogwalks, sometimes with geocaching / climbing

What’s your favorite animal? Dogs of course but all other animals too ;-)

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I have been invited by a friend for a visit in 2012 and was given the chance to help with the CB300 vet team. This must have been somehow addictive so I had to come back in 2014 . The following year Nina asked if I'd like to be part of the YQ Vet Team and I could not resist
to join this great adventure.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? To know your dogs individual and to observe the
running team all the time and take care of the dogs before taking care for yourself.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. YQ 2017, 2015 CB300 2014, 2012

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

To meet all those unique people, the mushers and handlers, the volunteers and fellow vets and of course the amazing dogs.

 

 

Stephanie Crawford, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

Nutrition and physical therapy. Support in both of these areas can have incredible results!

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I am a graduate student studying wildlife health and physiology. I am interested in novel approaches to assessing the health of different wildlife populations and their ecosystems. My current research focuses on fasting in Steller sea lion pups.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

Favorite memory – At the first checkpoint of the first race I ever worked – the CB300, at Chistochina -- nearly all the teams had pulled in and some of the early arrivers were gearing up to leave as big snowflakes began to fall. I remember smiling and stopping to enjoy the chorus that erupted of nearly 50 teams of dogs howling through the falling snow with only headlamps illuminating the yard.

What are your hobbies?

Baking, quilting, gardening, lacrosse

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

We have four rescued dogs, 10-14 years in age. They each have a medical or physical condition that limits what they can do or for how long, but all thoroughly enjoy romping in the snow. Our 14 year old sled dog mix is a stellar skijor dog and still going strong – she caught up to a 4 dog team that passed her last winter! Our others are a German shepherd and two Labrador mixes.

What’s your favorite animal?

NARWHALS!!!

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I love the energy of the race. I had been a spectator and internet follower for 15+ years before I began volunteering with veterinary teams four seasons ago.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

Nutritional support & foot care!

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

I’ve volunteered on the veterinary teams for the CB300 since 2015 and on the Alaska side of the YQ in 2016 and 2017.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

The camaraderie, the dog yard sing alongs, and bacon!

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

I am so impressed when we ask a musher how his/her team are doing and they reply with a detailed observation of how each dog in each position performed on the last run(s)– the attention to detail and note of subtle changes tells me they will know quickly if any of their team needs veterinary attention.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

During vet checks, it’s always a challenge to get a good listen to heart & lungs, when the other dogs on the drop chain are smooching your face and ears.

 

 

 

Wendy Kane, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

 

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

I enjoy working primarily in emergency and critical car e.  I like the fast pace and intensity of the work and the variety of cases I see

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

My favorite memory from last year was when Laura Neese crossed the finish line to everyone singing “you are my sunshine,” the song she was always whistling to her dogs as she got them ready. 

What are your hobbies? Hiking with my dog, reading, watching movies

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

I have a 13 year old greyhound cross named Jerika.  She is my best friend and travel companion.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

 I love the Yukon and Alaska area, I love the outdoors and I love dogs.  The YQ is the perfect way to combine all three things.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Nutrition and physiotherapy. 

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races. This will be my second year working on the YQ

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017 YQ? The cinnamon buns at McCabe.  And seeing all my friends from last year.

 

 

Emily Schendel, Veterinary Student

Hometown: Madison, Wisconsin

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

Interactions with clients is one of the best parts of veterinary medicine. I greatly enjoy working with people and their animals, whether it is a cow, horse, dog, cat, gerbil, etc. Animals can bridge the gap to part of the human soul that is not always able to be opened otherwise. The relationships, connections and communities that result is phenomenal and I am privileged to be a part of it.

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I am currently a fourth-year veterinary student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

During set up at one of the check points during the John Beargrease we were double checking the pulse oximeter was working so we put the probe on one of the technicians’ tongue…I am happy to report she had 100% oxygen saturation.

What are your hobbies?

I enjoy canicross, dog sledding, horseback riding and working with my family’s beef cattle. My husband and I also like to go on camping trips, especially in the Boundary Waters.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

I grew up raising and training sled dogs; my dad and I had a small kennel (~25 dogs) of Siberian huskies.
I also spent a season working as sled dog handler at Manitou Crossing Kennel in Finland, MN.
Currently my husband and I have a dog named Penny and a cat named Luna. Penny is a Boxer/Lab mix breed that my husband adopted as a puppy. Luna is a spunky little dilute tortoise-shell who I performed my first cat spay on during my 3 rd year of veterinary school. Despite my vow to not adopt the cat I was assigned to spay, she won our hearts at first sight; now she runs the household.

What’s your favorite animal?

It’s hard to say exactly what my favorite animal is; if I had to narrow it down to just two species I wouldto say dogs and cattle.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

Sled dogs and sled dog medicine has been a passion of mine since a very young age. In addition to our own kennel, I would often help my dad (a veterinarian) during sled dog races.

Between helping at races, running my own dogs and working at a long-distance sled dog kennel in northern Minnesota, I caught the sled dog ‘bug’. My dream for the past ten years has been to be part of the veterinary team at one of the longest sled dog races in the world during my fourth year of veterinary school. I’m so excited to have this opportunity!

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

The most important aspect of excellent sled dog care is putting the health of the canine athlete above winning, setting records or even finishing a race. That means providing nutritious meals, even after many miles of exhausting trail, maintaining equipment (ie: harnesses, gang-lines, booties etc.) so the dogs are comfortable as they run and pull with all their hearts, and spending countless hours training so even subtle hints of pain/discomfort/illness are quickly noticeable by the musher.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

This will be my first year (I hope of more to come!) as part of the YQ veterinary team. After my own sled dogs were sold when I went to college to begin the long road towards veterinary school, I decided to start volunteering on the veterinary teams at sled dog races in the Midwest (USA). I organized groups of undergraduate, pre-veterinary students and we helped out at the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, the Apostle Islands Sled Dog Race and the UP 200 over a number of years between 2011 and 2016.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ?

I am greatly looking forward to learning from a team of experienced sled dog veterinarians, as well as, seasoned mushers. Of course, I am especially looking forward to having the privilege of working with some of the greatest canine athletes in the world.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

I remember a moment during one long race, when it was well below zero, watching musher/handlers hand feed their dogs soaked meat/kibble at a checkpoint after the dogs were already bedded down in the straw. It was a beautiful example of going the extra mile to ensure the dogs were hydrated and had adequate calories for recovery during their break.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

While supervising a group of Siberian huskies in the free run pen with my fellow handler, his favorite dog ran over, lifted his leg and peed, right on the handler’s leg. I was laughing so hard I fell down and 4-5 dogs ran over and started licking me; it was a literal dog pile!

 

 

 Juli Wilson, Veterinary Student

 Hometown: Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

 

What is your favorite area of veterinary medicine and why?

I have a special interest in sports medicine and rehabilitation – especially as it relates to decreasing recovery time from injuries and surgery, and improving quality of life when medical management is the best or only option.

Are you a specialist or training to become a specialist; in what?

I am currently in my final year of the DVM program. I am interested in pursuing some aspect of rehabilitation and sports medicine after graduation, and plan to go into general mixed animal practice.

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race?

I have always loved the start of a race – when you can feel the incredible energy and excitement radiating off of the teams.

What are your hobbies? Dogsledding, snowboarding, canoeing, backcountry hiking – and really anything that means being outside in the bush, and where I can bring my dog.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe.

I grew up with huskies, as my family have always had sled dogs, and currently have 19 Alaskans. My own dog is a 2.5 year old Africanis rescue, who has personality to burn and goes everywhere with me.

What’s your favorite animal? Wolf

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team?

I had the priviledge of being able to be apart of the Yukon Quest in 2011, and it was an incredible experience. There is an amazing community surrounding the Quest, and the experience cemented my interest in learning more about trail medicine. As part of the final year of my veterinary program, I have a few weeks to dedicate towards a special interest, and feel very lucky that I am able to spend that time learning from some of the most elite canine athletes.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care?

Knowing your dogs. Sled dogs are incredibly tough, and rarely show the clinical signs typical in pet dogs with the same injuries or diseases. No matter how much veterinary education I have, I will never understand the dogs as well as my parents do. They constantly demonstrate the innate ability that mushers have of being so in tune with their dogs, that they pick up on the slightest abnormalities, and therefore give them the best possible care.

What are you most looking forward to during the 2018 YQ? Everything. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to be apart of the veterinary team, and look forward to learning as much as possible.

Share a story from the YQ or other sled dog race that shows excellence in canine care.

2011 was the first major dog sled race that I had been a part of, and I remember being amazed at the level of care in even the simplest of tasks. One image stands out – it was -35C and a team came into a check point, the dogs were bedded down, fed, and then each one was massaged – with the mushers bare hands. It was such a simple task in and of itself – but it made a big difference for the dogs, and I remember thinking that these dogs are truly treated like the Olympic level athletes that they are.

What’s the strangest or funniest thing that a dog has ever done to you?

I take the same backpack to class everyday, and I have more than once had to remove the dog toys that my pup has “packed” the night before. I’m not sure if it’s his hope that I will take him with me next time, but it always makes me smile as he often buries them at the bottom of the pack and it’s always one of his favourite toys.

 

 

Donna Russel-Swope, Veterinary Assistant

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

 

What is your favorite or funniest memory from a previous YQ or other sled dog race? Most recent favorite memory is from the 2017 Copper Basin, where women were the Top 3 finishers.

What are your hobbies? Hanging out with dogs, kayaking, fishing, hunting.

Do you have sled dogs or pets at home? Please describe. Unfortunately not at this time.

What’s your favorite animal? Dogs, and grizzly bears.

What motivated you to become part of the YQ Vet Team? It's a wonderful honor to be part of the team.

What is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care? Attentive mushers.

Please list your previous vet experience with the YQ and/or other sled dog races.

YQ - 9th year, Copper Basin - 9th year, Gin Gin, Taiga 300

What are you most looking forward to during the 2017 YQ? Being with the dogs and assisting our excellent veterinarian team