Hi Boys and Girls,
A couple of days ago, my human told me that I was going to go to the veterinarian for a check up. I couldn’t understand that. I have been feeling great. Why did I need to go for a check up. My human told me that sometimes you need to go to the Vet even when you’re well. It’s called a wellness check up and even humans get them. Have you had a check up lately?
When I was at the Vet, I saw Dr. Summer. She told me that this check up is very important for maintaining good health. She said I would be getting a full body exam and she would be checking my teeth, eyes, skin, muscles, feet and heart. They took some blood from my leg and then gave me a couple of shots.
OUCH! Why did I need a shot when I wasn’t sick? Dr. Summer explained that shots, also called vaccines, help create a healthy immune system to protect against viruses and other illnesses. She said I needed this check up not only to make sure I’m healthy but to stay healthy.
I started thinking about the Iditarod dogs and the check ups they receive before the race. They seem to have more blood tests and something called an EKG. I’m a sled dog. Why didn’t I have those tests? Dr. Summer said that although I still exercise a lot, I no longer run on a team. My needs are different than a dog that trains daily to be able to run in a 1000 mile race. She said to look at Iditarod sled dogs as Olympic athletes. Olympic athletes train and exercise a lot more than most humans do. They require check ups that make sure their bodies are staying healthy, they are getting the right nutrition, and everything is working well. Same with Iditarod dogs. They have an EKG to check for heart performance and specialized bloodwork will help detect any illness and make sure they are getting the nutrition needed. They also watch how a dog moves to make sure there are no orthopedic or muscle issues. If the exam, bloodwork, or EKG comes back showing they may be a problem, that dog will not be allowed to run the Iditarod.
I have learned that these wellness exams are important. My check up showed I was a healthy dog and everything looks good. Dr. Summer even gave me a special yummy treat when I was done. I love special treats!
Dr. Summer also told me that she would like to be one of the Iditarod Veterinarians. She has applied and is hoping to be picked. I hope she makes it. She’ll have an amazing adventure and those Iditarod dogs will be so lucky to have her take care of them! Good Luck Dr. Summer!
See you on the trail,