2019 Race Veterinarians


 Cristina Hansen, DVM, PhD - Head Veterinarian

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Nina received her DVM in 2007 and Ph.D. in 2015. During her Ph.D. she studied infectious diseases, and is particularly interested in wildlife disease, and diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people. This will be her 10th year as head vet. She believes that a solid training program, good nutrition, and knowing each dog as an individual are the most important aspects of sled dog care. A memory that exemplifies the excellent dog care during the race occurred at Pelly Crossing years ago. She talked to a musher for half an hour about foot ointments. He was cold, hungry, and hadn’t slept for days. But in that moment, it didn’t matter to him. He wanted to learn as much as he could to make the best decision for his dogs.



 Rob Avery, DVM

 Hometown: Grass Valley, California


Rob works in general medicine and surgery and enjoys being able to apply his skills in unique situations such as working sled dog races. He also enjoys working with wildlife and rescue organizations. Three years’ experience with the Northern Lights 300 has prepared Rob for his first Yukon Quest. He is looking forward to seeing the dogs multiple times along the way and being able to monitor their progress. Waiting for the first team to come into a checkpoint and the excitement of seeing that first headlamp appear in the distance is always a thrilling experience.





Andrew Haertel, DVM, DACLAM

Hometown: Portland, Oregon


Meeting new people and seeing old friends is one of the things Andrew is looking forward to on his 6th Yukon Quest. He loves sled dog medicine and especially the respect the dogs receive from their owners. The mushers understand their animals on a whole different level. He is board certified in laboratory animal medicine and joined the YQ vet team again this year because of his love for the sport and adventure. Andrew believes the ability of mushers and veterinarians to adapt to changing conditions throughout a long race is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care.



 Greta Krafsur, DVM, DACVP

 Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado


A board certified veterinary pathologist and T32 postdoc fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine, Greta believes a good physical exam and above all, listening to mushers and handlers is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. In 2011, she was awarded the Doc Lombard Scholarship and did a study on sled dogs in the 2012 Iditarod. She is always impressed with the knowledge and level of understanding of the health needs of each individual dog as well as the entire team the mushers bring to the sport.  She is looking forward to reconnecting with the incredible vet team and interacting with the amazing canine athletes.



Noel Kubat, DVM, MPH, DACVPM

Hometown: Elizabethtown, Kentucky


Noel is a Major in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps as well as a Diplomat of the American College of Veterinary Preventative Medicine. She believes the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care is the physical conditioning of the dogs to include endurance, nutrition, and preventative medical care. Working at pre-race vet checks and the Copper Basin 300, she is looking forward to continuing to support the dedicated mushers and their teams. She is always amazed at how aware mushers are of their dogs’ wellbeing and spot any slight difference in each dog, from inappetance to a funny gait on the trail.



Jaime Martinez, DVM

Hometown: Barcelona, Spain


Jaime got involved with sled dogs 15 years ago when he volunteered with the Pirena Sled Dog Race through the Pyrenees Mountains between Spain and France, and has been its Head Vet for the past 5 years. He has been a vet on 15 long distance races and 17 stage stop races in that time. A former board member of ISDVMA (International Sled Dog Veterinarian Medical Association) he is able to utilize his specialty in Sports Medicine. He loves to be a part of providing the best care possible to the amazing and exquisite sled dogs. Being involved allows him to reconcile his two great passions, dogs and snow.



Kimberly McCreedy, DVM

Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon


In 2010, her last year of Veterinarian school, Kimberly worked with Dr. Mike Davis on a sled dog research project during the YQ300. Since then, she has been on 6 Iditarod’s and two Eagle Cap Extreme Races in Oregon. Sled dog medicine is her favorite part of veterinary medicine, allowing her to work with dogs that are doing what they were born to do. To her, a musher’s connection to their dogs is the absolute most important aspect of sled dog care. The better a musher knows their dogs, the quicker they pick up on illness, injury or mental exhaustion.



Kathleen McGill, MBA, DVM

Hometown: Bend, Oregon


Kat’s favorite area of veterinary care is sports medicine. She raised Alaskan Malamutes for 40 years and started running recreational teams in Colorado in the 1970s. She began working as a race vet in 1997 and joined the Yukon Quest Vet team in 2001, becoming Head Vet from 2004 - 2014. A current board member of ISDVMA (International Sled Dog Veterinarian Medical Association) she has been a member since vet school. Excellence in dog care to her is the hour by hour care an observant musher does to succeed by giving the dogs what they need- the rest, food, and massage to be the best they can be.




 Joanne McCrea, DVM

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Joanne is certified in Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians and Certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Her professional interests include general medicine, wellness and sports medicine. After being a race vet on the Copper Basin 300 and part of a previous Yukon Quest, she joined the 2019 team because she enjoys helping out the dogs and mushers. To her, paying attention to the details and how the dogs feel is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. She is excited to be working the whole race this year to see the dogs as they progress down the trail.



 Molly Murphy, DVM, PhD, DACVP

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Molly is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Veterinary Medicine Program. In an effort to better understand the host contribution to a virus-host relationship, she attended veterinary school, with the intent of becoming an anatomic pathologist. Prior to, and during veterinary school, she worked with an exciting research group investigating the transmission of several high-impact diseases of wildlife and livestock. She is looking forward to being out on the trail again after helping with the annual pre-race Vet Checks held every year.


 John Overell, DVM

 Hometown: Dawson City, Yukon


John has been volunteering since 1999 and still helps every year. He believes that knowing and understanding your dogs is the most important aspect of excellent canine care. The first time John drove a dog team, it was through overflow. He fell over, did not let go, and was told he was a “natural” musher because he didn’t let go! John loves to watch healthy teams arrive at the checkpoints and is looking forward to gaining even more experiences with his fellow vets.



Mercedes Pinto, DVM

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Initially asked to join the vet team by a friend, this year is her eighth race and Mercedes believes that a caring and attentive musher is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. Many times she’s seen a musher turn around because the last checkpoint was closer, and they were worried about a dog. She’s excited to be a part of the incredible camaraderie again. When not volunteering for sled dog races around the Fairbanks area, Mercedes loves emergency medicine because it provides the biggest challenges and the most reward.



Jennifer Poplarski, DVM

Hometown: Ithaca, New York


After volunteering as a race vet on the Can-Am Crown in 2017, Jenn is excited to be working on this year’s race. As a Resident in Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, the opportunity to be working with such amazing canine athletes, and the mushers who know their dogs so well, is an opportunity she just can’t pass up. One of her favorite memories from a dog race was a near photo finish between two teams and the excitement and comradery between the mushers, communities and fans.  Being part of the Vet Team is another thing she is looking forward to.


Molly Yazwinski, DVM

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Before veterinary school, Molly spent several years mushing and ran the Iditarod in 2008. During veterinary school, she helped design an ISDVMA sponsored study that involved the 2011 Yukon Quest. The study was patterned after those done with human ultra-endurance athletes, examining the relationship between nutrition, stress, and inflammatory response to exercise. Her major areas of interest are sports medicine, nutrition and oncology. This will be her fifth race and she is looking forward to working with the dogs, seeing old friends and experiencing the atmosphere of the trail.





Stephanie Crawford, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska


Her fourth year on the trail, Stephanie’s looking forward to helping ensure as many paws as possible cross the finish line in Fairbanks. Her favorite areas of veterinary medicine are nutrition and physical therapy. She’s so impressed when she asks a musher how their team is doing and gets a detailed observation of how each dog, in each position, preformed on the last run. The attention to detail and note of subtle changes tells her the musher will know quickly if any of their team needs veterinary attention.



Chantelle Irizarry, Veterinary Technician

 Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska


This will be Chantelle’s first year on the trail, and she is looking forward to witnessing the special bond between the mushers and their dogs. Joining the Yukon Quest vet team this year is part of her ongoing desire to experience new challenges and will allow her the opportunity to gain experience with canine athletes. Originally from South Africa, she had previously helped at animal shelters and enjoyed the challenge of making miracles happen with minimal resources is a rewarding challenge.



Wendy Kane, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

While travelling in the Yukon a few years ago, Wendy fell in love with the north. She feels a special connection to the people and feels the mushing community is so focused and dedicated to putting their dogs care ahead of their own and she is excited to be a part of that again. Nutrition is very important to her and she feels there is so much  science behind sled dog nutrition, it’s always interesting to see each mushers take on how to best care for their dogs.



Josh Link, Veterinary Student

 Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado


 Josh is a fourth year veterinary student and has helped with previous pre-race vet checks. This will be his first Yukon Quest race as part of the vet team and he is mostly looking forward to following the teams throughout the progression of the race. Good training and proper conditioning before any race are the most important aspects of sled dog care and he believes that learning from small mistakes during practice runs can help avoid bigger ones during the race.