In March of 2021 Dr. Paige Geier will be volunteering her time as a full-time Iditarod race veterinarian! As a clinic, we are extremely proud of Dr. Geier
and this accomplishment. It is very competitive to be chosen as one of the forty licensed veterinarians who will oversee the care of more than 1,000 sled
The Iditarod Race, also called “The Last Great Race on Earth,” started in 1973 to remember and honor the sled dog trip in 1925 that saved many of the children of Nome, Alaska. The children of Nome needed a vaccine, or serum, to prevent them from getting diphtheria; however, the weather was so severe it could not be transported by train or plane. So the sled dogs were used to take the serum to Nome on the Iditarod trail. Before the race, Dr. Geier will be performing extensive pre-race screenings which include physical exams, EKGs and blood panels. After the race begins, Dr. Geier will travel to and stay overnight at the first of 20+ checkpoints on the trail and await the arrival of each race team. A checkpoint is where the teams stop along the trail and rest. During the rest period, the vets examine the dogs.
During the race, well over 10,000 veterinary examinations take place to ensure that every dog is healthy and receiving the care it needs. Race veterinarians provide wellness checks not only for the canine athletes throughout the race, but also dogs living in the communities along the trail. Each year these veterinarians offer vaccination clinics and are on call to check on dogs in communities that may need veterinary care as they travel up the trail.
The lives of the sled dogs that participate in the race each year are kept safe and healthy by volunteer veterinarians, like Dr. Geier, who go to Alaska and donate their time. We are so excited for her future adventure!
Feel free to visit the official Iditarod website at Iditarod – Last Great Race on Earth®
- The first Iditarod race to Nome started March 3, 1973.
- The Iditarod race stretches nearly 1,000 miles across Alaska from Anchorage to Nome, visiting more than 25 communities along the way.
- Each racing team has an average of 16 sled dogs. Which means over 1,000 dogs leave Anchorage and race to Nome.