“Yes, volvulus is extremely painful. It is the twisting of the intestines, which partially or completely shuts off the blood supply to the affected area. I cannot stress enough that the individual is in agony from start to finish. It may take several hours before infarction (the damage caused by the lack of blood supply) occurs. Furthermore, death is not quick; it is drawn out, usually due to shock. The fact that this dog died of the condition meant that he had to suffer through the entire process of incredible pain and then shock.”

– Veterinarian Nedim C. Buyukmihci, DVM, email to the Sled Dog Action Coalition on Feb. 9, 2013

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/story/2013/02/08/north-yukon-quest-dog-death.html

Sled dog dies in Yukon Quest race

Dog belonging to Alaskan Jake Berkowitz died from severe bowel obstruction

CBC News

Posted: Feb 8, 2013 12:09 PM CST

Last Updated: Feb 8, 2013 2:53 PM CST

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.