Small Animal Alaskan Mushing CE Experience

Small Animals

Date: Sat 28th Jan 2023 - Wed 1st Feb 2023
Venue: Happy Trails Kennels
Location: Big Lake, AK (Anchorage International Airport)
Contact Hours: 18 (RACE approved)
Event Language: English
  • Net price, no tax will be added*
  • Choose currency at checkout
Alaskan Mushing Attendee USD 1790.00
USD 1990.00
Alaskan Mushing Attendee & Guest USD 2490.00
USD 2750.00
Early Booking Deadline: Tuesday 1st November 2022
Registration Deadline: Thursday 1st December 2022

* VAT (= MWST/MOMS/SALES TAX) will only be added for certain UK vets attending events abroad and for all attendees when attending events in the UK.




This event will be held at Happy Trails Kennels, run by four-time Iditarod Champion Martin Buser in Big Lake, Alaska, 1 ½ hrs north of Anchorage International Airport.  Attendees will be provided with the unique opportunity to get hands-on experience with some legendary canine athletes that compete each year in the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race.  Most of the dogs at the kennel will be actively training for that race during the event.  They will however take some time from their arduous training program to give event attendees a taste of what it is like to race these impressive athletes.

On Sunday afternoon, the attendees will learn how to handle sled dogs, including harnessing and other preparations, before taking a 1 ½ - 2 hour wilderness ride to become familiar with the experience of traveling by dogsled. This will be the preamble for a longer half-day sled dog trip either on Monday or Tuesday afternoon, during which the attendees will be able to drive their own sled and a team of dogs through the Susitna Valley of Alaska

Alternative optional outdoor activities, such as flightseeing around Denali, guided glacier hiking/climbing tours, backcountry snowmobile adventures, etc. will be on offer for all attendees on their free afternoon (Mon or Tue, depending on group assignment) and especially on the last day from 10 am onwards.

Regardless of whether you choose to mush, fly, climb, or hike, you will see parts of Alaska that very few ever get to see!



  • Dr. Elke Rudloff  DVM, DACVECC – BluePearl Specialty & Emergency Pet Hospital, Milwaukee, WI, USA
  • Dr. Robert Cole  DVM, Dipl.ACVR – Professor of Radiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, AL, USA



The program will consist of Lectures & Case-Discussions focussing on Emergency Medicine & Related Diagnostic Imaging (Ultrasound & Radiography) covering the folloing organ systems & clinical syndromes (see 'Program Tab'):


  • Acute Kidney Failure
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction            


  • Acute Vomiting & Diarrhea
  • Pancreatitis & Biliary disease
  • Gastrointestinal Obstruction


  • Heart Failure & Pulmonary Disease

SHOCK – Identification of Hemorrhagic Shock, Resuscitation & Imaging (4.5 hrs)

  • Hemoabdomen Work-Up, Fluid Resuscitation & Transfusion Options
  • Pericardial Effusion

SPINAL INJURIES – Emergency Intervention, Identification of Causes & Imaging (2 hrs)


Available Activities
Full Day Mushing Image

This is an incredible opportunity to take an amazing, but physically demanding all-day trip driving your own team on the last day of the event. Nothing compares to the experience of leaving civilization behind and traveling through the snow-covered Alaskan countryside on a sled pulled by some of the most elite athletes in the world – the racing Alaskan sled dog.

$499 - Book as an 'Extra' via the VetPD Registration

Talkeetna Denali Flightseeing Image

This winter tour explores the Southside of the Alaska Range. Your pilot will be your guide and customize your tour based on weather conditions for the day. Enter into the heart of the Alaska Range to explore endless glaciers, massive mountains and the majesty of Denali itself.
Minimum 2 people, up to 10. 1 hour flight time

From $230 per person - For more information and to book click HERE

Backcountry Snowmobile Adventure
with Snowhook Adventure Guides

Explore Alaska like the locals on one of our Alaska Snowmobile Tours – Epic Snow Machine Riding in Alaska’s Wild back country. Enjoy the twists and turns of winter trails on our signature snow mobile tour. There are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife and views of Denali as we are out on the trail so don’t forget to bring a camera!
3 hour tour

From $200 per person - For more information and to book click HERE

Matanuska Winter Glacier Tours
Glacier Hike

The Matanuska Glacier is one of Alaska’s premier destinations. At 27 miles long and 4 miles wide, it is Alaska’s largest glacier accessible by road. Marvel at ice that formed thousands of years ago high in the Chugach Mountains. It also boasts one of the most accessible areas to walk on of any glaciers in Alaska. Each day is unique due to the dynamic nature of the glacier.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime bucket list opportunity to explore glacial ice!
3 hour tour. Gear will be provided. Pick up from Happy Trails Kennels will be arranged.

From $125 per person - For more information and to book click HERE

Alaska Bike Adventures Image

Anchorage’s trail network multiplies during the winter months and makes it the best place for winter fatbiking. Go out on one of our winter fatbiking trips and see how these 4 to 5 inch tires are superior for the winter conditions!
Full Day Bike Ride. Snacks, lunch & gear will be provided.

$200 per person


The event fee does not include flights, travel to and from Happy Trails Kennels (event location), accommodation, and any of the outdoor activities on the free afternoon (either Mon or Tue) and on the last day of the event, including the all-day wilderness sled dog ride. Attendees can book the all-day wilderness sled dog ride as an optional extra through VetPD. All other outdoor activities on the free afternoon and on the last day need to be booked directly with each provider listed under the ‘Travel Information’ tab.



Additional Terms & Conditions:

  1. VetPD Ltd, accepts liability for the event program only (lectures, refreshments and wine & cheese reception).
  2. Liability for travel, accommodation, lunches, course dinner, sled dog rides and alternative outdoor activities rest with the respective service providers. Cancellation of these components of the event is subject to the Terms & Conditions of each service provider (see here for further details).
  3. Attendees are expected to take out comprehensive medical and travel insurance in the event of unforeseen circumstances leading to attendees falling ill, suffering an accident or having to cancel their trip.
  • VetPD

    Elke Rudloff
    DVM, Dipl.ACVECC

    United States

    American Specialist in Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care
    More Info

    Dr. Rudloff is a 1991 graduate of Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her residency training at the Animal Emergency Center and achieved board certification in the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care in 1995.  She has supervised/mentored 28 ACVECC Diplomates and is currently a clinical supervisor at the Lakeshore Veterinary Specialists in Glendale, Wisconsin.

    She has served as the IVECCS Program Director from 1998-2009, and from 2013 until now.  She is the 2008 recipient of the Ira Zaslow Award for distinguished service in the field of veterinary emergency and critical care and is an internationally recognized educator in the field of veterinary emergency and critical care. 

    She routinely incorporates her medical acupuncture skills into her everyday practice to enhance the well-being and pain management of critically ill and injured patients. Her special interests include fluid resuscitation, emergency surgery, and trauma management, topics on which she has published in peer-reviewed journals and book chapters.

    Full details
  • VetPD

    Robert Cole
    DVM, Dipl.ACVR

    United States

    American Specialist in Veterinary Radiology
    More Info

    Robert Cole DVM, DACVR is an associate profressor at Auburn University. He graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998. After several years in general mixed animal practice, he completed a residency in radiology at the University of Tennessee. Following residency training, he served on the faculty at Texas A&M University and as imaging director in a specialty practice in Dallas, Texas. He is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Radiology. Research areas include small and large animal ultrasound.

    Full details

Event Program

Happy Trails Kennels


19391 West Lakes Blvd
Big Lake


Happy Trails Kennel

19391 West Lakes Blvd

Big Lake, Alaska USA 99652




From Anchorage:
North on Hwy 1 (Glenn Highway)
Hwy 1 turns into Hwy 3 (Parks Highway )
Go through Wasilla
Turn left on Big Lake road at mile 52
Go 3 ¼ miles on Big Lake road turn right on Beaver Lake road,
Go 1 mile, turn left onto West Lakes Boulevard (long name, short sign "W.Lks.Blvd")
Go 4 ½ miles to our driveway on right.  Look for tripod with sign.

Please head the following advice on driving in Alaska:

  • Make sure everything on your car is working and in good shape, including good tires, wiper blades, and lights.  Make sure you have an ice scraper for the windshield and windows, and maybe also some paper towels or napkins to clean grime and ice off your headlights if they seem to be getting dim.  In January, you will only have a few hours of bright daylight so headlights are a real necessity.
  • Very few rental cars will be equipped with winter tires because the cars mostly get used during the summer tourist season.  Don’t try to keep up with the locals driving metal studded winter tires – just because they can drive safely at a certain speed (or think they can) doesn’t mean your rental car can too.  Make your own decisions regarding your speed on a particular surface and let them go around you if they want to go faster.
  • Know the road conditions before you leave.  Alaska maintains a very informative, very useful website ( with all of the road conditions posted daily.  In many cases, these conditions are updated several times a day as the highway department trucks travel down the roads.  If the report on the section of road of interest is more than a day old, it usually means the highway department hasn’t been able to get down it.  So you probably shouldn’t try.
  • Road conditions can change rather abruptly – one moment the road is dry because it has been in the sun for a few hours, the next moment it is wet ice because it is in the shade.  Take your time and enjoy the scenery.
  • Watch out for wildlife, particularly moose.  In areas of deep snow, moose will get frustrated at having so much difficulty moving around, so they go looking for someplace with less snow – like that nicely plowed 2 lane highway.  And they won’t leave just because there is a very large vehicle bearing down on them at a high rate of speed.  If you see moose anywhere (on the road or just alongside it), slow down.  They are extremely stupid animals and will quite willingly walk right into your path just because….well, who knows why moose do what they do.
  • Don’t let your gas tank drop below half-full.  Gas stations can be few and far between, and may or may not be open in the more remote areas.  Besides, you needed to stop for some coffee and stretch your legs.



 Distance from Anchorage International Airport: approx. 67 miles


We recommend lodging in a B&B in the Big Lake area to enjoy the complete experience of the Alaskan wilderness. Happy Trails B&B (, where the event will be held, has 4 rooms, each with its own ensuite bathroom. Not only is it the most convenient, but you will have the unique experience of staying onsite at a world-class racing kennel. To book a room, please contact the B&B direct by emailing

Other B&Bs in the Big Lake area can be found on

The actual village of Big Lake is about a 20 min drive from the kennel, depending on road conditions. For more standard lodging, we recommend the Best Western Lake Lucille in Wasilla (, about a 30-40 minute drive from Happy Trails Kennels, depending on road conditions). Rooms at the Best Western will generally be less expensive than Big Lake area B&Bs and more convenient to a variety of restaurants and shopping centers, but will not provide as authentic an experience as staying in the Big Lake area.

Please note that at the time when the event is held, the Big Lake will be frozen, which means that accommodation around Big Lake is also very suitable as the venue Happy Trails can be accessed via the frozen lake.


Happy Trails B&B

Mile 4.5 West Lakes Blvd 19391 West Lakes

Big Lake

Alaska 99652

4 rooms only

Book direct!

0 miles


Best Western Lake Lucille in Wasilla

1300 W Lake Lucille Drive


Alaska 99654

26 miles

From $99.99

Cole' Cabin


Alaska 99652,%20AK&adults=1&check_in=2021-01-21&check_out=2021-01-27&source_impression_id=p3_1594756340_EXHWT7SiCAjKQgpn&guests=1

0 miles From $133

Walle's Place on Horseshoe Lake

Big Lake

Alaska, 99652,%20AK&adults=1&check_in=2021-01-21&check_out=2021-01-27&source_impression_id=p3_1594756578_MDS+hKEct3OBNnb8&guests=1

0 miles From $165

Blue Lantern Lodge- "Hannah's Room" 

Big Lake


15-20 miles From $150

Blue Lantern Lodge- "Holly's Room" 

Big Lake


15-20 miles From $150






Wasilla Lake



The lake named by workers constructing the Alaska Railroad after a nearby creek named Wasilla Creek. The lake shore is the site of a city park, Newcomb Park. It is the northern terminus of the Seven-Mile Canoe Trail, the other end being at Finger Lake. Outside of the park areas most of the shoreline is private property. The lake has a stable population of rainbow trout and fishing is considered good for bank, boat, and ice fishing.


Palmer and Alaska State Parks

Trail maps and passes can be found here:


Gold Panning-Hatcher Pass


More information on winter activities (mountain skiing, snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing and snowmobiling) can be found here:


Independence Mine State Historical Park


Learn what it was like to live and work in one of Alaska's largest gold mining camps.


Thunderbird Falls


One of the most popular “first hikes” for families with small children, the one-mile trail to Thunderbird Falls traverses a handsome birch forest along the Eklutna River canyon to reach a deck with views of a 200-foot waterfall.



Fort Richardson


Fort Richardson is a United States Army installation in the U.S. State of Alaska, adjacent to the city of Anchorage. In 2010, it was merged with nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The post’s largest military tenant is the Alaska National Guard, with facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Denali. Fort Richardson also hosts several non-military activities, including a United States National Cemetery and a state-owned fish hatchery.


Knik Glacier


The Knik Glacier snakes out of the Chugach Mountains, tumbling into an iceberg-studded lake that feeds the Knik River. With a five-mile-wide face and daily calving, it’s an impressive sight: 400-foot ice walls rise out of a lake filled with icebergs that are floating, turning, and breaking apart. There are no roads in here, but tour operators travel up the Knik River to the lake. There are also flightseeing trips over the glacier and a dog-mushing camp on the ice. You can also catch a glimpse of the glacier as you're driving the Glenn Highway south of Palmer.


Glacier Hiking-Matanuska


Matanuska Glacier Park is privately owned and charges per person every time you go thru the gate; Alaska State passes do not apply. Regular 2020 entry fee at gate is $30 per person. Hiking season is May to September.


Wasilla Creek Wetlands Trail

5990 Nelson Road

Wasilla AK 99654

Wasilla Creek Wetlands has a gorgeous boardwalk trail that is easy enough for the whole family to enjoy.

The trailhead can be a little tricky to find: After you pass The Ranch Alaska you'll pass over a tiny bridge labeled "Wasilla Creek." The parking lot will be on the left.


Flightseeing Tours

Join us on a Denali flightseeing tour and experience one of the greatest mountain landscapes on earth. Over six million acres of mile-high granite gorges, ancient blue glaciers, and endless icy peaks... let's go!

Add a glacier landing to any of our Denali flightseeing tours to walk among the great peaks and experience an environment known only to mountaineers. Our flights are safe, smooth, and exciting. Check out our photos for further inspiration. We look forward to flying with you.

The Mountain Midget Customizable adventures based on the interests, abilities, and appetite for a challenge of you and your guest. Contact Tony Lutes at  

“A once-in-a-lifetime experience combining continuing education with adventure - very professional and flexible organisers.”

Tore Malmei, Veterinærene Nyland & Malmei, Norway

“Very well-organized event with superb wetlabs supervised by highly-dedicated speakers. Great spouse program!”

Päivi Nussbaumer, Clinique du Vieux Château, Swizterland

“Well organised, small initmate course with great academic content.”

Angela Rogers, Blue Hills Veterinary Hospital, South Africa

“Super meeting with vets all over the world, real holiday atmosphere, a congress I would book again anytime, Super staff and service of your team and Mongena, we really enjoyed it and still do.”

Michael Saxer

“Very good quality conference with amazing outside activities, great accommodation & food which made it a very enjoyable week. It is easy to very nice to meet the other attendees.”

Mailys Giradoux