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Ep 53: Vetting the Iditarod: Lessons From Caring for Canine Athletes
Episode 5321st September 2022 • The Veterinary Leadership Success Show • By Dr Dave Nicol
00:00:00 00:46:55

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In today's episode of the Veterinary Business Success Show, we are joined by Dr. Gregg Kuehnel, a small animal veterinary practitioner, and author. 

In this episode, Brendan and Dr. Gregg discuss the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race - the annual dogsled race run in March between Anchorage and Nome, in the US state of Alaska. 

Dr. Kuehnel has been volunteering in race activities for the past four years and discusses his experiences and lessons he's learned so far. He also talks about the challenges he has encountered while volunteering at the event.

We find out the differences in the physicality and endurance ability of the dogs participating in the race event in Alaska to the normal dogs bred as pets in typical households. 

This is a thrilling episode with lots of new experiences to be heard and learned.

Episode Outline

  • [00:00] Episode Intro
  • [01:08] We hear why Dr. Gregg chose to visit such a cold area considering he's from a hotter climate.
  • [03:36] Dr. Gregg discusses his hobbies before taking on his new hobby: road trips.
  • [07:22] How long does it take when you fly out to the competition?
  • [11:04] The proportion between human physicians and veterinarians.
  • [11:29] An outline of the different strategies used in the races.
  • [13:38] Dr. Gregg explains the availability of veterinary medical supplies during the event.
  • [15:15] Are there other veterinary technicians volunteering at the checkpoint of the event?
  • [16:14] Brendan asks Dr. Gregg if the Veterinarians are required to conduct a complete check-up of the dogs during the race. 
  • [17:48] The total number of dogs in the race and their personalities
  • [19:33] Brendan asks Dr. Gregg how he adapted to the changes during his first trip from Florida to Alaska.
  • [20:33] Dr. Gregg reflects on a time when he felt scared while in Alaska.
  • [23:15] An explanation of how the challenges in Alaska strengthened Dr. Gregg.
  • [27:22] Has your experience in Alaska changed your perspective on veterinary work?
  • [30:07] Brendan and Dr. Gregg talk about the medical screening of the dogs before, during, and after the race.
  • [32:08] Brendan asks Dr. Gregg if his experience in Alaska has made him think of owning a dog similar to those of the ones he handled in the races.
  • [36:34] Where do the dogs retire once they are old or no longer unable to race?
  • [37:27] During the event, have you met people who you would have never met in your day-to-day life? 
  • [42:12] Dr. Gregg talks about implementing the non-hierarchy system of management used during the events in the private veterinary sector.
  • [44:00] Dr. Gregg talks about other races he would like to participate in. 
  • [44:50] Do you often come across other people who also want to volunteer in the various activities of the race?
  • [46:02] Episode outro
  • [48:48] The end

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