The death toll is mounting for Alaska’s sled dogs.
The Anchorage Daily News reports a fourth sled dog has died in a race, this time a female named Roxy who was running the Norton Sound 450 on Nenana musher Aaron Burmeister’s team.
In one week’s time, four dogs have died in three races – two in last weekend’s Tustumena 200 on the Kenai Peninsula, one Thursday in the Yukon Quest and one in the Norton Sound 450.
Two dogs died of having fluids in their lungs, while another died of intestinal volvulus with bowel infarction.
While dog deaths occur rarely in the Quest and the Iditarod, mushing’s two thousand-mile races, they are all but unheard of in shorter races like the Tustumena and Norton Sound.
The Tustumena’s fatalities are believed to be the first since the race began in 1984.