Alaska race dog may have overheated, died on plane

A two-year old male dog named Smoke died on a plane while being flown from the Galena checkpoint Friday. The dog was on musher Scott Smith’s team, who released the dog from his team due to a wrist injury. Race officials say the dog showed signs of overheating while in transit.

Race Marshal, Mark Nordman, says necropsy findings were consistent with hyperthermia, though further testing will be done, and reasons for overheating in the aircraft are being reviewed.

The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race began March 6th in Fairbanks, Alaska and stretches nearly 1,000 miles. Animal advocates argue the race can be deadly for dogs because the animals are forced to run and exert themselves. Supporters, however, say it is a celebration of world-class canine athletes that have been conditioned to perform at the highest levels.

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