Veterinarians

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Chief Veterinarian

Gregg Phillips 2017
Gregg Phillips PhD, DVM

Dr. Phillips is returning as the 2017 Head Veterinarian. He has been involved in mushing since the early 1990's. Before he was a veterinarian, he ran a recreational team of Siberian Huskies. Time spent on the runners with his own dogs led him to veterinarian medicine. Since then, he has worked on the vet teams for local, national, and international races. Dr. Phillips no longer mushes dogs, but acting as a trail vet allows him to touch the energy that surrounds sled dogs, and to work with colleagues and mushers from around the world. He is a member of the ISDVMA, and currently works in North St. Paul, MN.


Veterinarian Team

David GagnonDr. David Gagnon
Dr. David Gagnon is returning for his fifth Beargrease. He has been participating as a sled dog trail vet since 2011 at the UP200. David graduated from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012 and is living in Appleton, WI. In addition to sled dog races, he loves to spend time being active cycling, playing volleyball, camping, and canoeing. David enjoys spending these races with his fellow vet team members, mushers, and dogs (of course).
Katie NeshekDr. Katie Neshek
Dr. Katie Neshek is returning for her second year as a trail veterinarian for the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. Prior to obtaining her veterinary license, she participated on the veterinary team for both the Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and the Copper Dog as an eager veterinary student. Katie graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. Afterwards she completed a rotating small animal internship in Bowie, Maryland and has since returned to Minnesota and is living in the Twin Cities. Katie likes spending time being active outdoors and enjoys camping, climbing, hiking and trail running. Spending time with these amazing canine athletes is one of the highlights of her year and she couldn't be more excited to see all the mushers, handlers, veterinarians and dogs out on the trail!!!
Sarah KassingDr. Sarah Kassing
Dr. Kassing has had a lifelong passion for sled dogs and began volunteering for the Beargrease as a pre-veterinary medicine student. She graduated from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011 and has since moved West. Now practicing as an emergency veterinarian in the mountainrs of Arizona, she has continued to work with sled dogs in both Arizona and Minnesota. She is looking forward to returning again to be a part of the Beargrease veterinary team. A lover of anything outdoors, Dr. Kassing is an avid runner, downhill skier (even in Arizona), water-skier, and is frequently in the wilderness somewhere backpacking with her husband and their two dogs.
Katelyn SteffensDr. Katelyn Steffens
Katelyn is a new addition to the vet team this year. She is a fourth year veterinary student at the University of Minnesota who is participating in the vet team for the Beargrease as part of her clinical rotations. She began her involvement in the sled dog world during veterinarian school with helping at the vet checks at the Beargrease starting her first year. Last season she went over to Michigan and was part of the vet team for the UP200 and loved it. When she does come across some free time she enjoys hiking with her dog Lupin, snowshoeing, reading, and spending time outdoors
Ron Moore
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Dr. Ron Moore
Gayle TateDr. Gayle Tate
Gayle Tate of Woodbury TN, graduated in the first class of veterinarians at the University of Tennessee in 1979. He has been in private practice ever since. He is a 12 time Iditarod Vet and had aslo worked other events, including Equine Olympic Veterinarians for the Atlanta Georgia Olympics in 1996 and again in Sydney Australia Olympics 2000. He has finished his fifth year with the Beargrease in Duluth, MN. Between this and 3 kids and his practice he stays plenty busy. Never too busy for his love of UT football.
Shane SmithDr. Shane Smith
Shane returns for his second year at Beargrease, last year he was a member of the veterinarian team as a part of his clinical rotations at the University of Minnesota. Shane started his career in Veterinarian Medicine when he graduated from Bel-Rea School of Veterinary Technology with a CVT in 2006. He then continued his education at the University of Minnesota and worked as a CVT at the U of M for 7 years. in 2013, Shane went to Ross University for Veterinary School, and completed his senior rotations at the University of Minnesota. He currently practices as a Veterinarian in Minnetonka, MN. Shane was born and raised in Alaska and always been interested in dog sled racing and is very grateful to have this opportunity to be a part of the Beargrease vet team. Shane, his wife, two boys and his Shiba Inu currently live in Minnetonka.
RoedelsDr. Elroy Roedel DVM and Deb Roedel CVT
Elroy and Deb have been helping out at races for 5 years now, but this is their first Beargrease. Apostle Island, UP200, Ironline, and Tahquanemon Country are other races where they have assisted. They both enjoy the outdoors and the comraderie/social interactions with the mushers, handlers, veterinarians, and technicians. And we like to play with the dogs, too! Both graduates of Michigan State in the early 1980's, they work and reside in Loyal, WI

CVT Team

Kris Ausland CVT
Kris Ausland, CVT
Kris has been involved with sled dog racing since 2009; as a handler, a musher, and a member of numerous Veterinary Teams. This will be Kris's 6th year as a member of the Beargrease Veterinarian Team. She holds an Associate of Veterinary Technology degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota Duluth. Kris is an Iraqi Freedom Veteran and retired from the Minnesota Air National Guard after serving for 21 years. Her Veterinary experience includes shelter medicine, working on a mobile surgical unit, emergency medicine, small animal practice, as well as rural area veterinary trips to help the less fortunate. Kris' race experience includes the UP200/Midnight Run, John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, Copper Dog 150, Apostle Islands Race, Gichigami Express, and Gunflint Mail Ru. She has also run teams in the Ely Wolf Track Classic and the MidMinnesota races. Kris especially enjoys hiking with her dog Lena and photographing nature and wildlife. Some of her many other interests include horse camping, white water rafting, kayaking and traveling to new places... a wanderer at heart.

Vicki Wichmann MillerVicki Wichmann Miller, VT, RALAT
This is my third year volunteering with the Beargrease Vet Team. My curiosity and interest in field medicine originally drew me to this event and, yup, now I’m officially hooked. I really enjoyed seeing and feeling the energy of Sled Dogs in action and how these athletes work as a team as well as being able to witness, first-hand, the astounding dog-Musher bond. I am eager to be able to work with these amazing athletes again this year, see old faces and develop new friendships within the Beargrease Sled Dog community.

I have been in the field of Veterinary Medicine since 1995 and have been practicing primarily Emergency Medicine and Critical Care since 2001 in Apple Valley, Minnesota – dabbling in day practices here and there as well. I especially like the fast paced, impromptu aspects of Emergency Medicine and all the variety it offers. I was also one of the original founders of the Twin Cities Animal Blood Bank. For the past 1.5 years, I have worked as a Senior Research Animal Technician within a Medical Device and Pharmaceutical Research and Development Company.

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, friends and my multitude of pets – 3 dogs (Brinley, DWee and Goose), 1 cat (Sysco, aka: Fat Kitty), a rat (Twinkles Brie, like the cheese) and a tank full of saltwater fish - but, especially my new and first Granddaughter, Zola.
Laurie AngellLaurie Angell, CVT
I am once again very excited to be joining not only the Vet Team for my 8th year but also spend another year as “Sawbill Sally” (4th year) with my fellow Sawbillies at my favorite checkpoint taking care of the dropped dogs. I have made so many new friends over the years since beginning this fascinating volunteer journey. I look forward to seeing everyone including all my fellow Vet team members, as well as mushers, their families, their beautiful dogs, the handlers and of course all the other amazing volunteers that help make this race happened!!
Katie TaitKatie Tait, CVT
Katie graduated from Argosy University in 2008 and has been working since then as a C.V.T in small animal clinics in Wisconsin and Minnesota. She is mom to 5 boys (2 human, 3 feline) and a lovely geriatric spanie (Penelope). When not working, she enjoys spending time with her extended family in Ely, MN. This is her first year at the Beargrease races.

EMT Team

Judi LaurenceJudi Laurence
Judi Laurence, aka Squirrel has been volunteering with the Beargrease since 2005 in various capacities. She has been working along with the Vet Team as the Human Emergency Medical Technician for most of that time.
Judi, who is a Firefighter/EMT has been here and will continue to be here to assist Mushers, Handlers, Beargrease Staff and Fans in any emergency situation. From the start of every race until everyone goes home at the end of the marathon banquet she will be available.
Judi is also a ham radio operator and can have continuous contact with every checkpoint.
When she is not working with people, she enjoys volunteering with various Animal Search and Rescue Response Teams. She and her husband are fortunate enough to have adopted two former Beargrease racers, two Alaskan Huskies that have captured their hearts. Judi loves to skjor with them! She also enjoys living in Northern Minnesota, doing triathlons, rappelling, kayaking, traveling and being Grandma to her Grandkids!

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