ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Yukon Quest officials say a preliminary necropsy shows that a dog on musher Hugh Neff's team died due to aspiration. The dog died while Neff was asleep and the exact chain of events that led to the death are unknown.
Head Veterinarian with the Yukon Quest, Cristina Hansen, says that the preliminary necropsy results for the five-year-old male dog named Boppy showed he vomited and then inhaled the vomitus into his lungs. Hansen said it "is consistent with the clinical history provided by the musher. Neff, a two-time Yukon Quest champion, reported to Hansen Friday that the dog had died while resting at Clinton Creek. Neff officially scratched from the race in Dawson City.
Hansen said it is unusual for a sled dog to die of aspiration; in the nine years she has worked as a vet for Quest, Hansen has seen that cause of death on two occasions. She says that the first instance occurred while the dog was running on the trail.
Hansen says she had not seen a sled dog die of aspiration while it was resting at a checkpoint. She added that a dog will typically die quickly once they aspirate vomit and that it can take less than five minutes for them to expire.
In a press release, spokespeople with the race write that "final necropsy results are expected to be released within one month after the 2018 race finish."