Wednesday morning we had a new blanket of snow covering Anchorage as it snowed several inches overnight. We set off early headed towards Wasilla to the Iditarod Headquarters – what a gorgeous drive!
Any dog running in the Iditarod must be examined by a veterinarian just prior to the big race, so the driveway into Headquarters was lined with dog trucks.
Angie Taggert ran the race last year and she has been at the Teacher’s conference this year, so she was able to sneak me into the trailer where the veterinarian’s draw blood and run the EKG’s on all of the dogs.
After checking out the veterinarian trailer, I headed to the actual headquarters which was pretty cool!
Inside Iditarod Headquarters you can learn about the Iditarod – I loved the maps and various musher paraphernalia hanging on the walls. There is a variety of Iditarod related items for sale, and there were even a couple of mushers picking up tickets for the Thursday night Musher Banquet (where mushers draw for their starting positions).
Back outside, more mushers had arrived for the vet check.
Each dog that runs in the Iditarod has an extensive exam prior to the race. Veterinarians check their heart, lungs, muscles, joints, gums and blood. In addition to the bloodwork and the EKG, every dog will also have a microchip implant for identification, and will also be vaccinated for kennel cough. During the race, vets along the trail examine the dogs at the checkpoints. One of the mandatory pieces of equipment a musher must carry is the veterinarian notebook. It is a top priority to keep the dogs healthy!