Sled dog dies in Yukon Quest race

The dog, belonging to Alaskan musher Jake Berkowitz's team, was being transported to Whitehorse by a race veterinarian at the time of death.

Dog belonging to Alaskan Jake Berkowitz died from severe bowel obstruction

Jake Berkowitz's dog team races in last year's Yukon Quest. He was fourth to the finish line in Whitehorse in 2012. (Sam Harrel/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner/The Associated Press)

A dog has died on the Yukon Quest trail, race officials announced Thursday.

The dog, named General, belonged to musher Jake Berkowitz’s team. It died while being transported to Whitehorse by a race veterinarian.

In a news release, Yukon Quest head veterinarian Kathleen McGill said a necropsy in Whitehorse had found the cause of death to be "a condition called intestinal volvulus with bowel infarction."

She said blood and tissue samples would be sent to a lab for further analysis and the results from those tests are expected in in four to six weeks.

Berkowitz, a musher from Big Lake, Alaska, is in third position behind Hugh Neff and Allen Moore, also of Alaska.

Frank Turner, a veteran musher and Quest winner, said the dog’s death is sure to affect the mushers and fans of the race.   "Obviously this is the most devastating thing that can happen," he said.

Turner said the animal's death is sure to trigger opponents of the race but he said the standard for animal care has never been higher.

"Anybody that has got serious questions, and thinks the care of the dogs is not paramount, in my opinion has not really gone out their way to verify that," he said. "When you're competing at this level, your success is totally based on the care of your dogs."

Three dogs on three different teams died during the 2007 race. One dog died in the 2010 race, and another in 2011