Vets Check Dogs Before Beargrease

With Beargrease just around the corner, vets are making sure that dogs are safe for the big race tomorrow.

PROCTOR, Minn. – With Beargrease just around the corner, vets are making sure that dogs are safe for the big race tomorrow.

Veterinarians, vet technicians, and students from the University of Minnesota helped check the dogs at the South St. Louis County Fairgrounds in Proctor.

“Everybody seems to be well-trained and healthy,” said Gregg Phillips, the head vet for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. “You know, a few scratches or abrasions on the feet, you know, a few rubs from the harnesses here and there, but just normal sorts of things that happen with the running of sled dogs.”

When checking for the dogs’ health, vets look at the heart, lungs as well as the color of the dogs’ gums. They also look at issues with paws, legs, or any wounds that the dogs might have.

While Sunday’s warm weather isn’t ideal for the dogs, vets say it’s not bad considering they have become used to this year’s unseasonable temps.

“About 10 below is optimal for the dogs, and if it’s going to be pushing 30, that’s not the best weather for sled dog racing, but it’s been a warm January and these dogs have been training in that weather already,” said Phillips.

Mushers Gregg Vitello and his son Bailey came from the east coast to run this year.

“They’re just important to make sure the dogs are healthy, see if we’ve missed anything, right, and have the professionals look at them, make sure they’re ready to run 300 miles,” said Vitello.

They’re grateful for the vets and for their help in keeping their dogs at their prime.

“Looking forward to them keeping an eye on our dogs and making sure they’re good and healthy,” said Vitello. “It’s really important to make sure that the dogs, right before they enter the races, there’s no issues there. No shoulder issues. No problems at all.”

Both vets and mushers are excited to see the dogs race to the finish line at the Beargrease marathon.

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