Update on Fred and Silver Sled news.
Happily, Fred went to see Dr Rick Brown at Alpine Veterinary clinic (Fred's usual doctor and personal sponsor, Dr carolynne Fujda was away), to review his condition and try to come up with a course of treatment. Rick felt that Fred had probably not had a stroke as his vision and hearing did not seem affected and also his appetite and ability to swallow were fine. He felt that something (possibly a disc moving) had caused Fred to lose some of his coordination in his limbs. We decided against a course of testing to try to come up with conclusive results as considerable time energy and money might be spent and nothing concrete might be the outcome. More importantly, Rick felt that Fred's quality of life was still good and that provided Fred continued to show some signs of improvement and was not in any pain, he still was probably a pretty happy dog. Fred now gets prednisone every day and we see small improvements in his coordination on a regular basis. Fred is moving well enough now that when I let him off his lead to come in at night he runs for the house and doesn't stumble as much as he first did. Needless to say, Heather and I are both relieved and happy that the outcome of Fred's visit to the clinic was as positive as it is. For me this is a reminder that every day with these dogs is a remarkable gift that is not to be taken for granted.
Well what can I say about the Silver Sled??? Silver Sled is our local 100 mile race that I helped start and have remained an active player in since 1997. The 11th running of the Silver Sled was another major success in many ways. Despite the cold (-40c) Saturday morning, 17 teams turned out for the long race and 3 for the Chilli Paw (16 mile race). trail conditions were excellent and as the day wore on, the air temperature warmed up to the point that a light jacket and glove liners were adequate for me to stay warm. Unfortunately, Sindbad and Casper decided before the race to settle some sort of disagreement with their teeth as dogs are occasionally known to do. As dog fights go, it was not an exceptionally bad one, but Sindbad had to be left behind with Heather to get a few staples put in his cheek. Casper on the other hand appeared to be fine all the way to Silver City, not missing a step all the way. However, when I got there he refused to drink and just did not appear to be well at all. After much poking and prodding around, the vet technician on duty (Sandy from Alpine Veterinary services) discovered that he had a cut inside his mouth that was becoming infected. We instantly scratched and headed home to get Casper into a warm place and get some antibiotics started, which were kindly loaned to us by fellow competitor and dentist Paul Geffrion. As it turned out, Casper eneded up going to Whitehorse on Sunday night with Sandy and had his mouth stitched up and a drain put in his chin. He is now sporting a shaved chin and an elizabethan collar to prevent him from affecting the drain area. He is on the mend and will be going back in the kennel soon. Sindbads cut is healing well and the staple can be removed fairly soon.
Although one of the least enjoyable aspects of this sport, dog fights do occur occasionally, both among the males and the females. Much is said about them being the result of genetics, tension caused by females being in heat, poor training, hierarchy etc. Regardless of the cause, prevention is what I try to focus on. I am not sure what caused Casper and Sindbad's altercation as the season has been almost free of such incidents, so it really took me by surprise when it happened. Prevention in this case, will be to have them tied in such a manner that they can't get at each other from now on.
No matter how much one learns in this sport, the dogs will always show you that you have more to learn.