2010-03-25 / Features

Iditarod Ends With Zero Dog Deaths

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race wrapped up with a surprise – no dog deaths.

The 55th and final finisher, rookie Celeste Davis, reached Nome on Saturday night.

In 2009 race six dogs died of fluid-filled lungs, hypothermia and, in one case, a rough airplane ride.

Top finishers say relatively good trail conditions, low temperatures and the lack of a major storm helped teams complete the race faster and healthier.

Chief race veterinarian Stuart Nelson says he can't remember a year without any deaths since he became involved in the race in 1986. At least twice, in 1994 and 1996, there has only been one death.

Nelson says the greatest concern typically is that dogs might overheat, and with a colder race, that factor's taken out of the equation.

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