Dogs competing in various Westminster events usually arrive in top shape, with shining eyes, shiny coats and impeccably practiced around the ring. Like other athletes, some dogs get sick or injured because they compete.
When they do, veterinarians at the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York and the Cornell University Veterinary Specialist in Stamford, Connecticut will provide a rapid medical evaluation and provide basic first aid.
Elisa Mazzaferro, M.D., an emergency and critical care specialist who was in charge of the temporary veterinary clinic on Monday, said this is usually enough. “Fortunately, most of what we see are broken toenails and muscle strains,” she said.
Our veterinary team is available to clean minor wounds, bandage and treat allergic reactions, among other simple services. “Nobody broke their leg, but they were able to control the pain with splints,” Mazzafferro said.
They have occasional dog emergencies. In the past few years, Mazzaferro said, the team had learned that one of his dogs had a torn stomach and another had an infected uterus, both of which could be life-threatening. That was it. In such cases, the on-site veterinarian sent the owner to a local emergency hospital.
Veterinarians may find themselves treating bipedal patients, especially during agility competitions. dogs and their human handlers Navigate the occasional slick obstacle course. “They come to us for ice packs because they’ve seen the handlers wipe out,” Mazaferro said.
Last year, a young handler dropped a crate on his leg just before his turn in the show ring at the Junior Showmanship Competition for children ages 9 to 18. The girl needed stitches, but Mazaferro cleaned and bandaged the wound so she could compete first. “she told her Mom, “I’m in the veterinarian’s tent. They’re taking care of me,” recalls Mazzafferro.
For veterinarians, Westminster is a delightful opportunity to see rare breeds, Mazaferro said.