Sled dog dies on Yukon Quest trail

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A sled dog has died while running the Yukon Quest race, according to race officials.

Monday evening, officials say musher Misha Wiljes arrived to the Central checkpoint with Joker, a 5-year-old male on her team that died about three miles from the checkpoint.

The race’s head veterinarian said a preliminary necropsy report showed Joker’s cause of death to be aspiration, in which a fluid or foreign body is inhaled into the lungs. The examining veterinarian found Joker to be in good body condition with no signs of neglect or abuse.

A final necropsy report is expected to be released within one month of the end of the 2019 Yukon Quest.

Wiljes is a Yukon Quest veteran who has finished the race in 2012, and scratched from the race in 2013. She finished both the 2017 and 2018 Iditarod races.

Wiljes left the Central checkpoint at 7:19 Tuesday morning in 21st place in the race.

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