Dogs as athletes

Just as human athletes, sled dogs are prone to injuries, which are specific to the activity there trained for.

In sled dogs, the majority of problems encountered are of musculoskeletal origin. We can see a lot of foot problems, from abrasions to cuts and, for which we treat with booties, foot ointments and padding. Lameness is also one of the most common afflictions in sled dogs and the forelimbs are usually implicated since they bare 75% of the weigh while running. The wrist and the shoulder are the two articulations that often are implicated. These conditions are treated with rest, anti-inflammatory, massages and compressive wraps. Other conditions such as hip dysplasia, rupture of the cranial cruciate ligament or fractures have been seen over the years but remain very rare .

Sled dogs teams live in packs and cannot escape the laws of dominance and submission that regulates interactions amongst individuals of the group. In addition, dogs of Nunavik are generally not sterilized. Hence, the presence of hormones will enhance aggression, territorial marking and the frequency of battles. Therefore, it is also common to find biting wounds. Some wounds respond well to a simple cleaning and disinfection while others may require antibiotics.

Besides all the material cited above, the veterinary first aid kit contains tools during the examination (i.e. stethoscope, thermometer), a suture and bandages kit for wounds, intravenous fluids to treat dehydration, an array of antibiotics to treat different types of infection and medication for various situations such as constipation, diarrhea and vomiting, It also contains tools such as nail clippers and scissors to maintain optimum feet for the dogs.

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Julie Ducrocq

Veterinarian at Ivakkak 2015
Julie has been a veterinarian for the last 15 years. She has also been coming up north for the last ten years on different assignments ranging from rabies vaccination in dogs to sampling caribou for disease. Besides working on the Ivakkak race for the last five years, she experienced working as a trail veterinarian on the Yukon Quest and races in Labrador as well.
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Dogs as athletes

By Julie Ducrocq

Julie has been a veterinarian for the last 15 years. She has also been coming up north for the last ten years on different assignments ranging from rabies vaccination in dogs to sampling caribou for disease. Besides working on the Ivakkak race for the last five years, she experienced working as a trail veterinarian on the Yukon Quest and races in Labrador as well.

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