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Yukon Quest 2013 – Day 7

Yukon Quest map odd years

Sled DogThere is some bad news from the race: General, a member of Jake Berkowitz’s team, has died while being taken to Whitehorse by a race veterinarian. He had been dropped from the team at Dawson, and was being evacuated to a more advanced facility in Whitehorse for care. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.

Update: Results of the necropsy indicate that General died of “a condition called intestinal volvulus with bowel infarction”. That’s an obstructed bowel in layman’s terms. Large dogs don’t chew their food and may swallow pieces too large to pass through their system. The system clogs causing a build up of gas and fluid that distends or expands the stomach to the point that it turns and twists the intestine, making things worse. Death is usually caused by shock. There is no ‘first aid’ for the problem. It normally requires surgery to correct.

Christina Traverse (12), a rookie from Fort McMurray, Alberta, has been withdrawn by race officials. There is no official word as to why, but withdrawal is generally the result of officials determining that a team is not capable of continuing but the musher won’t scratch on their own.

Update: Christina hit the ‘panic button’ on her GPS tracker to request assistance, so it was her decision to leave the race.

The normal 36 hour mandatory stop at Dawson was increased to 40 hours. I haven’t personally seen the reason stated, but I would assume it was to give the trail breakers more time to mark the new trail between Dawson and Eagle caused by the terrible conditions on American Summit.

The Standings at 11:30PM CST (9:30PM PST):

Beyond Eagle
1 Hugh Neff (4)
2 Allen Moore (11)
3 Jake Berkowitz (20)
4 Brent Sass (18)
5 Scott Smith (23)R
At Eagle
6 Markus Ingebretsen (2)R
7 Susan Rogan (10)R
8 Abbie West (17)
Beyond Dawson
9 Normand Casavant (7)
10 Dan Kaduce (15)
11 David Dalton (21)
12 Ed Hopkins (25)
13 Crispin Studer (26)
14 Denis Tremblay (13)R
15 Cody Strathe (5)R
16 Darrin Lee (24)R
17 Brian Wilmshurst (1)
18 Rob Cooke (3)R
At Dawson
19 Matthew Failor (14)R
20 Randy MacKenzie (9)R
21 Dyan Bergen (19)R
22 Misha Pedersen (16)

These are the official standings. That means they are official, not that they are correct. Things jump around a lot as people decide to update the standings. This problem is especially bad in the back of the pack, as no one bothers to update those standings when the lead is changing.

The Mushers in bold are former winners of the Yukon Quest, the numbers in parentheses are their Bib numbers, and the small “R” indicates a rookie.

Note: This post will be updated during the day, and the map changed on all posts to reflect the current situation.

All posts on the Yukon Quest can be seen by selecting “Yukon Quest” from the Category box on the right sidebar.


1 JuanitaM { 02.08.13 at 3:38 pm }

Well, this just sort of breaks your heart, doesn’t it. You know, I see so many photos of the dogs running, tongues hanging out, and looking like they’re having the time of their life. And I think they are. Then this, but I suppose this could have happened anywhere, but I doubt the running helped the situation.

Another sad aspect of this is that dogs are pack animals, and General was alone and scared without his pack when he was sick and dying.

Thanks for the update, Bryan.

2 Bryan { 02.08.13 at 4:36 pm }

I’m fairly certain that the vets would have given him pain meds and fluids IV before transporting him, hoping to prevent shock, but the pain from a blockage is intense. People know it is a possibility with any large dog because of their lack of chewing food, but there really aren’t any early symptoms to see. The lucky ones throw up and get rid of the blockage, but if they can’t, surgery is the only option.

It does happen anywhere and isn’t really related to pulling the sled.