Four Thousand Paws: Caring for the Dogs of the Iditarod; A Veterinarian’s Story

Norton. Feb. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781324091394. $27.99. PETS
DC-based Morgan has written the first book about the world-famous Iditarod dog sled race from a veterinarian’s perspective. A veterinary race volunteer since 2012, the author captures the energy, excitement, and danger of the race, deftly covers the history of the Iditarod from its inception in 1973 to current times and issues (COVID, doping, musher safety, and climate change), while capturing the magic of the Alaskan wilderness. As the race has grown (in popularity and controversy) over the years, so has the advanced veterinary care that the sled dogs receive. In the early years there was only one veterinarian responsible for the medical care of hundreds of dogs; there were no emergency protocols, and as a result, dozens of dogs died that first year. Now skilled vet teams at each checkpoint and proactive injury prevention have contributed to a much safer racing culture. Since this book is written by a veterinarian, the author also discusses the physiology, endurance training, and personality of the Iditarod’s amazing canine athletes.
VERDICT Dog lovers and sports fans will enjoy the down-to-earth writing style of this behind-the-scenes perspective of the 1,049-mile-long “last great race on Earth.”
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