The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race has experienced its first canine death in two years.
A dog named Polar on the team of France’s Sebastien Dos Santos Borges died Wednesday, Quest officials announced in a series of news releases.
Borges, a rookie in the race, was in Carmacks when head veterinarian Christina Hansen was notified of the death.
Soon afterwards it was announced that Borges, 43, decided to scratch from the race. A news release cited “personal reasons” as the reason to drop out. He was in 19th place at the time.
A preliminary necropsy indicated Polar died from an “acute gastric hemorrhage,” a release on Thursday said, adding: “The dog was in excellent body condition and appeared to have been well cared for.”
Borges’ race profile includes a statement that reads, “My dogs come, for the greater part, from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. By participating in the Yukon Quest, I hope to pay tribute to them.”
The previous canine death in the 1,600-kilometre race between Fairbanks and Whitehorse took place in February 2014 with a dog belonging to veteran Dave Dalton of Healy, Alaska. A gastrointestinal hemorrhage (bleeding in the intestines) was determined to be the cause of death.
The Yukon Quest also experienced a canine death in 2013 and two in 2011. The worst Quest for dog deaths in the last decade was in 2007 when three perished.
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