Beargrease Sled Dogs Get Pre Vet Checkup For Marathon

Alejandra Palacios
Updated: January 27, 2018 10:36 PM

DULUTH - Beargrease mushers were busy getting their dogs checked at the pre-race veterinarian checks in Beaver Bay on Saturday . The vet checks are mandatory to make sure the dogs are in good condition for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon.

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After lots of training and preparation for the marathon, it’s important that vets pay close attention to the dog's body and overall health condition to make sure the race is a safe and fun experience for everyone involved.

Mary Manning, a Beargrease musher, is looking forward to participating in her third mid-distance race.

"The dogs are well prepared, I think it'll go well. I know we won't be the fastest team out there, but my goal is not to be the fastest, it's just to go out and have good, clean, fun runs and have a good time on the trail," Manning said.

The dogs go through three thorough exams. Gregg Phillips has been working as a sled dog race vet for 14 years. This year marks his ninth Beargrease as a vet to the dogs.

Phillips made sure to focus on checking hearts, lungs, hydration, and making sure the paws were in good shape.

"Circulation is good, make sure their gums are good and pink. The dogs have good attitudes, make sure that they have a good body condition because those dogs have the tendency to lose weight down the trail," Phillips said.

Along with the vet checks, they also keep a close eye on the sled dogs during the race at the check points.

Phillips looks forward to running into mushers and dogs that he's gotten to know over the years.

"I always say it’s like a family reunion every year. There’s a lot of mushers that come back to the Beargrease every year. It’s one my favorite thing about the race. We make those connections with the mushers and the other race officials," Phillips said.

Samuel Louters, A junior musher, is participating in his third Junior Beargrease. Louters was busy getting the final details finished with nail trims for his sled dogs.

"We'd like to have a few more miles on them than we do. We're just going to have fun and see how it goes,” Louters said.

With marathons, comes safety precautions to make sure the mushers and dogs are well prepared and healthy for the popular event.

There will be an opportunity before the race for the community to meet the mushers and there will be free shuttle buses available for the public.



Alejandra Palacios

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