Conifer animal doctor heading to Iditarod in Alaska

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CONIFER, Colo. -- The rush is on to Alaska, but not for gold. The rush is for the mush, as in the world-famous Iditarod dog sled race.

David Palmini is an animal doctor in Conifer. Some say he's the best around these parts.

"Being a mountain practice, we definitely see a lot of trauma and critical care. We see animals throughout getting injured," Palmini said.

Soon, the doctor will be treating dogs. Sled dogs. A lot of sled dogs in the Iditarod race.

"I've seen mushers from Sweden, from Japan, Northern Europe and from Jamaica," Palmini said.

Each sled team starts with 16 dogs for a total of 1,500 dogs.

Palmini will be one of 40 volunteer veterinarians, flown in by bush plane and assigned to one of 20 checkpoints in frigid and sometimes very dangerous weather.

"Biggest thing we probably see are strained wrists and shoulders, and occasionally loose stool along the course," Palmini said.

From roller coaster-like rides in bush planes to 40 degree below zero weather to whale blubber.

"They offered it to me and not wanting to be rude I took a piece and choked it down," he said.