Veterinarians perform check-ups on UP200 dogs ahead of race day

News

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Race day has officially arrived, and the mushers and dogs were up early this morning for their first veterinarian check-ups.

There are two head veterinarians, Tom Gustafson and Jean Wilcox. Along with about a dozen other veterinarians checking the dogs. For consistency, all the vets follow certain guidelines set by the International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association.

Dr. Jean Wilcox has been a veterinarian for the UP200 since 1995. She said that the check-ups for the pups this year so far went better than they expected.

“We listen to their heartrate, we listen to their lungs, we body condition score them. These are all baseline numbers for our checkpoints after they’ve started running,” said Wilcox. “We always ask if there’s anything specific that a musher wants us to look at because at this time of year the dogs have been in several races.”

The first leg of the race is about 65 miles long. The musher’s job is to monitor the dogs so they don’t exhaust themselves too early into the race.

“That’s usually where the problems start is at the very beginning of the race, and you don’t see the problem maybe until the middle of the race. It takes a lot of talent on the mushers’ part to observe their dogs carefully and make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Wilcox.

Veterinarians will be at three different checkpoints during the actual race to watch for problems and check the dogs.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Special Olympics: Athlete Spotlight

Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics powerlifters get ready for competition"

Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Cross Country Skiing"

Special Olympics Basketball

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Basketball"

Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Michigan Area 36 2020 U.P. Winter Games"

Special Olympics: Downhill Ski

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics: Downhill Ski"

Special Olympics Figure Skating

Thumbnail for the video titled "Special Olympics Figure Skating"

Polar Plunge for Special Olympics

Thumbnail for the video titled "Polar Plunge for Special Olympics"

Latest News Video

Functional Medicine

Thumbnail for the video titled "Functional Medicine"

Sights & Sounds: 30th annual UP200 Sled Dog Race

Thumbnail for the video titled "Sights & Sounds: 30th annual UP200 Sled Dog Race"

The Fish & Hunt Shop presents Top 3 on Local 3

Thumbnail for the video titled "The Fish & Hunt Shop presents Top 3 on Local 3"

Preparing for UP200

Thumbnail for the video titled "Preparing for UP200"

Dogs checked before UP200

Thumbnail for the video titled "Dogs checked before UP200"

UP200 LIVE (Part 2)

Thumbnail for the video titled "UP200 LIVE (Part 2)"