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This Makes No Sense To Me

From the BBC – Iditarod race: Dallas Seavey named in doping scandal. The Iditarod Trail Committee is saying that several dogs on Dallas Seavey’s second place team tested positive for the painkiller Tramadol.

What would be the advantage of giving the dogs a pain killer? Tramadol can cause seizures, drowsiness, breathing issues, etc. in people and dogs. Everyone knows that the teams will be tested for drugs after they finish. Why would Dallas do something that would probably make his team slower and be detected?

The ITC didn’t ban him, but Dallas said he wouldn’t be running in next year’s race. He is not a happy musher. His Dad, Mitch, beat him in this year’s race, and the Tramadol might be the reason.


1 hipparchia { 10.25.17 at 6:16 pm }

so you’re accusing the dad of doping the son’s dogs? 😈

i saw the headlines and wondered if you knew about this… I should have known you could be counted on to keep on top of all things sled-dog-racing.

as for slower, I dunno… for a dog in its prime, maybe, but I can remember tramadol really perking up the fluffy black dog in his last years, since it took away the pain of the arthritis that was beginning to give him a hard time.

2 Bryan { 10.25.17 at 8:49 pm }

Dallas isn’t stupid, and knew the top 20 teams are always tested. There’s good prize money, but his main income is selling his puppies. Winning increases the price of the dogs, but this will decrease their value. Yes, Tramadol is really good for dogs with arthritis, but it would take the edge off a prime sled dog. If he had 4 dogs hurting bad enough for Tramadol to help, a vet at a check point would notice, and his Dad would notice.

OTOH, someone else introducing Tramadol into his dogs’ food, given the nature of sled dog racing, and the gambling that goes on, is not beyond the pale. It could be someone settling a grudge. The food bags aren’t in a vault at most check points. They are usually outside so they don’t thaw.

3 ell { 10.29.17 at 2:28 pm }

We use tramadol post surgery in dogs for anti- inflammation and pain management. It is a class I V scheduled drug for which we must justify and account for every mg. Prob not new info for you. Litho used routinely by vet’s for the above issues, it’s not approved by FDA for veterinary use, that could be a reason the guy was called out . The dogs typically walk out the door putting weight on all 4 legs so I can see why this drug was used as it’s relatively safe physiologically .

4 JuanitaM { 10.30.17 at 8:28 am }

I thought the same as you when I first read the article on this the other day. It makes no sense for him to give this to his dogs since Tramadol is listed as a type of narcotic. Supposedly it’s similar to morphine as it binds to the opioid receptors in the brain. Not exactly what one would be looking for when attempting to win a race in sub-zero temperatures.

Looks more like someone was trying to slow his dogs down to me.

5 Bryan { 10.30.17 at 11:14 am }

Ell, these aren’t regular dogs. Sled dogs in endurance races run four ‘Marathons’ a day for about 10 days, eating 20,000+ calories/day and losing weight. They are the perfect result of thousands of years of selective breeding and evolution. The puppies of the from the top kennels cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Dallas Seavey has a top kennel. He has treadmill in a refrigerated building to start training for the season earlier than other teams. This is his business, his father’s business, his grandfather’s business. These charges are going to cost him sponsors. The top 20 teams in the Iditarod are tested for drugs every year. When you have reached Seavey’s level in the sport it would be madness to give drugs to any dog on your team. Yes, an injured dog might be able to put weight on all four legs after taking Tramadol, but can s/he run a 100 miles a day?

Yes, Juanita, and like opioids it binds more than brain receptors, and a constipated dog can’t keep up the pace, with bowel blockage or twisting being suspected by vets at checkpoints.