Necropsy results have been released for two dogs that died unexpectedly on the trail during this year’s Iditarod.
Flash, a 4-year-old dog from Katherine Keith’s team, died in the overnight hours Tuesday just before reaching the Koyuk checkpoint. Officials said at the time that the dog collapsed in the harness and died a short time after.
A necropsy determined the “cause of death was consistent with acute aspiration pneumonia,” according to Iditarod Trail Committee race marshall Mark Nordman. Further testing will be done.
Shilling, a 3-year-old dog from the team of rookie English musher Roger Lee, died about ten miles before the Unalakleet checkpoint Wednesday morning. Lee made the decision to scratch Thursday after leaving the Unalakleet checkpoint.
A necropsy performed on Shilling found extensive pulmonary edema, or fluid in the lungs. More tests will be done to try and find a cause of the fluid, according to Nordman.
Three dogs have died on the Iditarod trail this year. Another dog died while being transported to Anchorage in a plane after being dropped, and a fifth Iditarod dog was hit and killed in Anchorage after it escaped from a handler’s home.