Necropsy confirms Yukon Quest dog died of aspiration pneumonia
Officials with the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race have released the results of an autopsy for a dog who died on the trail of this year's race in February.
Joker was a male dog on Misha Wiljes' team, a release from race officials said Monday. He died approximately three miles prior to Central, the second-to-last point on the trail.
The release states that head veterinarian Cristina (Nina) Hansen said the final necropsy report performed by Dr. Greta Krasfur confirms Joker was in "good body condition" and died of aspiration pneumonia, which was caused by inhaling vomited stomach contents.
The Yukon Quest has nine checkpoints whereas the Iditarod has 22, making the distances between checkpoints longer on average. This requires Yukon Quest mushers to camp along the trail significantly more often than in Iditarod and to pack their sleds more heavily.
According to the 2019 Yukon Quest media guide, all Yukon Quest sled dogs receive at least one, and often more, complete physical examinations by the Yukon Quest Veterinary Team during their rest in Dawson City to be sure that they are ready to compete in the remainder of the race.
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