Dr. Mueller Volunteers at the UP200 & Midnight Run dog sled races

Dr. Mueller was invited back to be one of the sled dog veterinarians for the UP200 and Midnight Run sled dog races in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this year.  The races took place beginning Friday, February 17th, starting in downtown Marquette.  This was Dr. Mueller’s 5th year of volunteering to care for the sled dogs- it remains a highlight of her year!  She continues to be in awe of the bond between the dogs and the mushers, and the amazing physical abilities of these canine athletes. This year’s race was unique in that the forecasted weather was unseasonably warm.  Even dogs that are well-conditioned to racing can struggle to dissipate heat when they perform in temperatures warmer than is typical for them.  This means that the veterinary team was preparing to see hyperthermic dogs and other medical issues.  However, with a few helpful pre-race reminders from Dr. Tom Gustavson (the race’s chief veterinarian), the mushers did a fantastic job of adjusting their pace and watching for early signs of problems.  Therefore, the vast majority of dog finished the race with their teams- happy and healthy. Pre-race veterinary exams are required on all the dogs before they race, to ensure that they start the race in good physical condition.  This also offered Dr. Mueller an excellent opportunity to evaluate the dogs for other minor issues that may not affect their racing performance, but might be helpful for the mushers to know about and address after the race, such as skin growths or broken teeth.  The mushers tend to know their dogs so very well that rarely were these things “news” to them.   The pre-race vet checks were done on Friday morning, where a local reporter caught Dr. Mueller in the middle of examining one of the sled dogs:   IMG_4735  NTM Dog Sled 2017

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