(File photo)

Necropsy to be performed on sled dog that died during Yukon Quest

It’s the fourth time in as many years a dog has died during the race

Yukon Quest organizers say a musher’s dog died late Monday evening.

Veteran musher Misha Wiljes’ five-year-old male, Joker, died three miles outside of Central, Alaska, and was carried into the next checkpoint.

A preliminary necropsy will be conducted within two days and that more information will be released then.

Wiljes, 50, is from Willow, Alaska, and has raced in the Quest twice, completing it once in 2012. She has also raced in the Iditarod.

The Quest’s live tracker showed Wiljes and her team on Tuesday morning making the trek from Central to Mile 101 over the difficult Eagle Summit, close to the end.

This is the fourth year in a row that a dog has died during the 1,600-kilometre race.

Last year, Hugh Neff’s dog Boppy died before the team reached Dawson City.

In 2017, Yuka Honda’s dog Firefly died, and in 2016, Sebastien Dos Santos Borges’ dog Polar died during the race.

This year’s Yukon Quest started with 30 teams, each with a maximum of 14 dogs, meaning the total number of dogs involved in the race this year is approximately 400.

READ MORE: Dawson City is a balance of calm and chaos during Yukon Quest

Alaskan native Brent Sass won the race on Monday, crossing the finish line in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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