2020 Race Veterinarians

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Cristina Hansen, DVM, PhD - Head Veterinarian

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Nina received her DVM in 2007 and Ph.D. in 2015. During her Ph.D. she studied infectious diseases, and is particularly interested in wildlife disease, and diseases that can be transmitted from animals to people. This will be her 10th year as Head Vet. She believes that a solid training program, good nutrition,   and knowing each dog as an individual are the most important aspects of sled dog care. A memory that exemplifies the excellent dog care during the race occurred at Pelly Crossing years ago. She talked to a musher for half an hour about foot ointments. He was cold, hungry, and hadn’t slept for days. But in that moment, it didn’t matter to him. He wanted to learn as much as he could to make the best decision for his dogs.

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Andrew Haertel, DVM, DACLAM

Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Meeting new people and seeing old friends is one of the things Andrew is looking forward to on his 6th Yukon Quest. He loves sled dog medicine and especially the respect the dogs receive from their owners. The mushers understand their animals on a whole different level. He is board certified in laboratory animal medicine and joined the YQ vet team again this year because of his love for the sport and adventure. Andrew believes the ability of mushers and veterinarians to adapt to changing conditions throughout a long race is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care.

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 Greta Krafsur, DVM, DACVP

 Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

A board certified veterinary pathologist and T32 postdoc fellow at the University of Colorado Anschutz School of Medicine, Greta believes a good physical exam and above all, listening to mushers and handlers is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. In 2011, she was awarded the Doc Lombard Scholarship and did a study on sled dogs in the 2012 Iditarod. She is always impressed with the knowledge and level of understanding of the health needs of each individual dog as well as the entire team the mushers bring to the sport.  She is looking forward to reconnecting with the incredible vet team and interacting with the amazing canine athletes.

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Kimberly McCreedy, DVM

Hometown: Wilsonville, Oregon

In 2010, her last year of Veterinarian school, Kimberly worked with Dr. Mike Davis on a sled dog research project during the YQ300. Since then, she has been on 6 Iditarod’s and two Eagle Cap Extreme Races in Oregon. Sled dog medicine is her favorite part of veterinary medicine, allowing her to work with dogs that are doing what they were born to do. To her, a musher’s connection to their dogs is the absolute most important aspect of sled dog care. The better a musher knows their dogs, the quicker they pick up on illness, injury or mental exhaustion.

 Joanne McCrea, DVM

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Joanne is certified in Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians and Certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Her professional interests include general medicine, wellness and sports medicine. After being a race vet on the Copper Basin 300 and part of a previous Yukon Quest, she joined the 2019 team because she enjoys helping out the dogs and mushers. To her, paying attention to the details and how the dogs feel is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. She is excited to be working the whole race this year to see the dogs as they progress down the trail.

Molly Murphy, DVM, PhD, DACVP

 Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Molly is an Associate Professor of Veterinary Pathology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Veterinary Medicine Program. In an effort to better understand the host contribution to a virus-host relationship, she attended veterinary school, with the intent of becoming an anatomic pathologist. Prior to, and during veterinary school, she worked with an exciting research group investigating the transmission of several high-impact diseases of wildlife and livestock. She is looking forward to being out on the trail again after helping with the annual pre-race Vet Checks held every year.

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Mercedes Pinto, DVM

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Initially asked to join the vet team by a friend, this year is her eighth race and Mercedes believes that a caring and attentive musher is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. Many times she’s seen a musher turn around because the last checkpoint was closer, and they were worried about a dog. She’s excited to be a part of the incredible camaraderie again. When not volunteering for sled dog races around the Fairbanks area, Mercedes loves emergency medicine because it provides the biggest challenges and the most reward.

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Stephanie Crawford, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Her fourth year on the trail, Stephanie’s looking forward to helping ensure as many paws as possible cross the finish line in Fairbanks. Her favorite areas of veterinary medicine are nutrition and physical therapy. She’s so impressed when she asks a musher how their team is doing and gets a detailed observation of how each dog, in each position, performed on the last run. The attention to detail and note of subtle changes tells her the musher will know quickly if any of their team needs veterinary attention.

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Chantelle Irizarry, Veterinary Technician

 Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska

This will be Chantelle’s first year on the trail, and she is looking forward to witnessing the special bond between the mushers and their dogs. Joining the Yukon Quest vet team this year is part of her ongoing desire to experience new challenges and will allow her the opportunity to gain experience with canine athletes. Originally from South Africa, she had previously helped at animal shelters and enjoyed the challenge of making miracles happen with minimal resources is a rewarding challenge.

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Wendy Kane, Veterinary Technician

Hometown: Calgary, Alberta

While travelling in the Yukon a few years ago, Wendy fell in love with the north. She feels a special connection to the people and feels the mushing community is so focused and dedicated to putting their dogs care ahead of their own and she is excited to be a part of that again. Nutrition is very important to her and she feels there is so much  science behind sled dog nutrition, it’s always interesting to see each mushers take on how to best care for their dogs.

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Josh Link, DVM

 Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

Josh was the fourth-year veterinary student in 2019, and is returning as a veterinarian for this year. He believes good training and proper conditioning before any race are the most important aspects of sled dog care, and that learning from small mistakes during practice runs can help avoid bigger ones during the race.

Linda Nguyen, DVM

Hometown: Las Vegas, NV

Linda has a BA in zoology and DVM from Colorado State University. She has been interested in being a part of the Yukon Quest Vet Team since being a part of the Copper Basin in 2017 as a veterinary student. Linda believes the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care is a veterinary team that cares about every sled dog as much as their mushers and team.

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Annette Llanes, Veterinary Student

Hometown: Fort Collins, Colorado

Annette is a fourth-year veterinary student at CSU with interests in large animal and emergency medicine. This will be her first Yukon Quest and is looking forward to traveling across with the team and seeing how the mushes and dogs handle the distance. Annette believes that nutrition is the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care. We are so proud to have our second UAF/CSU Collaborative Veterinary Program student join our Vet Team. The UAF/CSU Program was established between the two land-grant universities to give students in Alaska access to a top-ranked veterinary medicine education partially in their home state, where veterinarians are in high demand. CSU veterinary students have the opportunity to learn about Alaska wildlife and fish disease and health, marine animal science, sports medicine, and rehabilitation with sled dogs, and a variety of global public health challenges that involve environmental, human, and veterinary medicine.

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Laurie Dunbar, DVM 

Hometown: Quebec, Canada

Laurie has a diploma in Animal Science for the Nova Scotia Agricultural College, as well as a BSc from the University of Guelph. She obtained a DVM from the Ontario Veterinary College, later achieving the Certification in Canine Physical Rehabilitation (CCRP). Laurie is excited to participate in her first Yukon Quest. She is looking forward to spending time in the North, experiencing the quiet of the wilderness and meeting amazing people.

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Thorsten Hahn, Veterinarian 

Hometown: Rattingen Germany

Thorsten was a trail vet for the 2015 race and has volunteered for the Copper Basin 300. He believes the most important aspect of excellent sled dog care is knowing the dogs as individuals, and observing the running team all the time. Watching the mushers take care of their dogs before themselves is very important as well. He’s looking forward to seeing the unique people that can only be found at this amazing event: the mushers, handlers, volunteers, fellow vets and, of course, the amazing dogs.

Emily Lacobucci - coming soon!