Iditarod is torture |

Iditarod is torture

The Iditarod has a long, well-documented history of dog deaths, injuries and illness that race lovers simply can’t erase.

During the Iditarod, the dogs have suffered from penile frostbite, crippling, bleeding ulcers, pneumonia, torn muscles and tendons, viral diseases, hypothermia, broken teeth, torn footpads, ruptured discs, lung damage and even death.

According to a report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 81 percent of the dogs who finish the race have lung damage. The Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine reported that 48.5 percent of the dogs in the Iditarod have ulceration, tissue erosion, gastric hemorrhage, or a combination of these conditions. On average, 53 percent of the dogs who start the race do not make it across the finish line.

Dogs are often sick before the Iditarod starts but are made to race anyway. While some sick dogs are dropped during the race, others are given massive doses of antibiotics to keep them going.

In 2004, the Anchorage Daily News quoted Aliy Zirkle as saying “It was my first Iditarod; I had to finish the ding-dang thing. The dogs all had fevers. The vets gave them a powerful antibiotic.”

If the dogs could talk, they’d say the Iditarod is dog torture.

Margery Glickman


Sled Dog Action Coalition


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