‘The best at their best’: Veterinarians, elite dogs at Westminster

For the third year in a row, Vets from the College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM) attended the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on site from June 12-13 to the world’s most elite dogs.

The veterinarians were the official veterinarians of the exhibition, offering the purebred dogs wellness examinations and medical care, coordinating the preparation of medical care, shift logistics and training at the world’s longest running dog show.

Having these vets on the show has been especially reassuring to owners of attendees who have received top-notch care from Cornell.

On the left, Alison Miller ’03, DVM ’07, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Cornell University Veterinary Specialists staff critic Elisa Mazzaferro (center), a Westminster dog and his handlers at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club dog show.

“I think Cornell is the best in the country,” said Ashley Fischer, who lives in Wilton, Connecticut and uses the local veterinary specialists at Cornell University. This year she showed her Pug Rider, also known as Ch. Cado Midnight Ticket to Ride, in Westminster.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show has been relocated from its traditional Manhattan location to the Lyndhurst Mansion in Tarrytown, New York. Spectators were not allowed.

Rider, the only black dog in a sea of ​​32 pugs, was “a bit overwhelmed by the whole event as he is just starting his career in the Best of Breed competition,” says Fischer. “Regardless of the results, it was a privilege to be able to show my little dog at the historic Westminster Kennel Club Show. What a nice event that was. We were just happy to be at the party. “

Fischer’s relationship with Cornell began when her English cocker spaniel traveled to Ithaca to have a hernia repaired. Another time, one of her pugs needed a bowel resection because of cancer. “He was there for six days,” says Fischer. “They took exceptional care of him, but they always take exceptional care of my dogs.”

Marg Pough of Ithaca agrees. That year her Border Terrier Avery – officially known as Ch. Bandersnatch Defiant ME – was in the ring at the 145th Westminster Show.

She routinely brings her terriers to CVM so students can practice giving vaccines, puppy exams, and learning about purebred dogs. Her dogs have also participated in hip dysplasia studies and ultrasound scans for pregnancy.

Pugs Ruckus (left) and Rider visit the Cornell booth at the 2021 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

She recalls how a Cornell vet used ultrasounds on the pregnant dogs to count the pups and predict their due dates. “And when the pups arrived, I said to her, ‘Yes, your count was good.’ And yes, they were born a day earlier or a day later. “

The vets are grateful for the opportunities caring for this dog population offers them.

Dr. Denae Campanale, assistant doctor in diagnostic imaging, particularly appreciates the opportunity to see pregnant dogs. “So many pets are neutered and neutered these days that we don’t often do tests on intact or pregnant animals.”

Campanale says attending the Westminster Show provides a rare chance to see healthy animals and their owners in tip-top shape.

“As veterinarians, we often see our customers in really difficult moments, when their animals are very sick and very stressed,” says Campanale. “At Westminster we can see these beautiful, healthy versions of their breeds, really the best of the best at their best. … We could see how close the customers were to their animals, how much they looked after them and also the result of all their efforts. “

As Best in Show Judge Pat Trotter says, “Not all pets are show dogs, but I can assure you that all show dogs are pets.”

Christina Frank is a freelance writer for the College of Veterinary Medicine.