Veterinary Team

We are so very grateful to have this dedicated group of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and veterinary students caring for the dogs! They put in long hours to make sure the dogs are healthy and well tended. When you look at the travel time, the long hours and the brutal weather, you realize there is only one thing that could make them do it: love for these beautiful, energetic dogs.

Chief Veterinarian Dr. Kathy Topham, DVM

Dr. Kathy Topham, DVM is a graduate of North Carolina State University. She is the co- owner of a veterinary practice focused on Canine Sports Medicine. She has served as a trail veterinarian on the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, Gichigami Express, UP200/Midnight Run in Michigan, Race to the Sky in Montana, Grand Portage Passage, and Pedigree Stage Stop.

Dr. Nadder Samari, DVM

I am a full time veterinarian at Cedar Grove Veterinary Clinic in Grand Marais, Minnesota. I and my wife Lee, as the practice manager, established this clinic in 2017 and are glad to be part of the Grand Marais community. We have been involved in the Gunflint Mail Run for the past few years and hope to continue to offer our services to this great race.

Dr. Phil Topham, DVM

Dr. Phil Topham is a graduate of the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. He was originally drawn into sled dog medicine while living in Duluth in the late 1990’s. Dr. Topham is the sole proprietor of Phillip Topham Veterinary Services, a full-service veterinary relief. Other races he has volunteered at include the Gichigami Express, the John Beargrease, the UP200/Midnight Run in Michigan, the Race to the Sky in Montana and Pedigree Stage Stop.


Dr. Lara Stephens-Brown, DVM

Dr. Lara Stephens-Brown, DVM is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine and currently practices in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan at a mixed animal practice. She fell in love with sled dogs in veterinary school and has been involved with race veterinary teams since 2015.


Ms. Kris Ausland, CVT

Ms. Kris Ausland has been involved with sled dog racing since 2009 and has been a member of the vet team since it changed from the Gitchigame Express to the  Gunflint MailRun. She holds an Associate of Veterinary Technology degree and a Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She is an Iraqi Freedom Veteran and retired from the Minnesota Air National Guard after serving for 21 years.  Her race experience includes the UP200/Midnight Run, John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon, CopperDog 150, Apostle Islands, Gichigami Express and Gunflint Mail Run sled dog races. She has also run teams in the Ely Wolf Track Classic and the Mid­Minnesota races.

Ms. Chrissy Damitz, CVT, VTS-ECC

Chrissy has been a certified veterinary technician for many years, graduating from Ridgewater Technical College in Willmar, MN with an AAS. Her primary veterinary experience has been in emergency and critical care medicine. Most recently she is working as an anesthesia technician at a Twin Cities veterinary specialty hospital. She has volunteered on the veterinary team for the Beargrease, Gunflint Mail Run, and Montana’s Race to the Sky.