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Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 10)

April 16, 2010

The Iditarod has been dubbed "the last great race on earth."

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 8)

April 16, 2010

Veterinarians play a crucial role in assessing the health condition of these animals, says Dr. Vern Otte. The dogs are expected to race around the clock in six- to eight-hour increments.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 9)

April 16, 2010

When it comes to the health of the sled dogs, veterinarians frequently monitor for dehydration, which is common. Diarrhea is another ailment due to the estimated 10,000 calories consumed by each dog every day.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 11)

April 16, 2010

Veterinary care is an important element of the race, says Dr. Vern Otte. An estimated 20 percent of the dogs dropped out of the race from a host of problems -- from illness and injury to not having the stamina or will to finish the 1,150-mile race.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 3)

April 16, 2010

Dr. Vern Otte was looking for a new hobby. He found it in a remote part of Alaska caring for the sled dog teams as they raced into his checkpoint.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 12)

April 16, 2010

From April to September in Alaska, nature puts on a light show. The Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, are most active late at night or early in the morning.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 4)

April 16, 2010

Temperatures can dip to -40-degrees F. While dogs run best at night, temperatures need to climb to just above 0 for optimal performance, explains Dr. Vern Otte.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 6)

April 16, 2010

The elements in Alaska can be brutal. In most cases veterinarians pack their own clothing, sleeping bags and medical supplies.

Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE

Photo gallery: The Iditarod trail (part 2)

April 16, 2010

Each of the Iditarod teams started with 16 dogs.

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