Ailing Iditarod dog improving in Unalakleet

Kyle Hopkins

SATURDAY 7 PM UPDATE: The condition of a Lance Mackey dog has been upgraded from critical to stable, Iditarod officials said.

The dog, Wyatt, was flown from Eagle Island to Kaltag, where it received treatment Saturday morning. It was then flown to Unalakleet.

Wyatt "improved greatly throughout the day and is with other dropped dogs in Unalakleet," Iditarod spokeswoman Erin McLarnon said.


KALTAG -- A dog in critical condition was flown into Kaltag on Saturday morning, according to Iditarod race judge Rhodi Davidson.

Davidson did not know which team the dog belonged to. All she could say is the dog has been declared a "red dog," a code word Iditarod veterinarians use for dogs that need care immediately. The levels range from white to blue to red.

"It's critical," Davidson confirmed. "It will be checked here and if necessary we'll send it to Unalakleet."

Inclement flying weather kept race officials and volunteers from reaching Eagle Island on Friday. On Friday night they needed to send in snowmachines to deliver the drop bags for mushers leading the race. Efforts to fly into Eagle Island, where the injured dog was picked up, started early Saturday morning.

"We've got the runway (in Kaltag) so they'll bring all (dropped) dogs here," Davidson said. "We'll put them on the big plane and take them out."

Of the 16 teams that have checked out of Eagle Island as of noon today, all but four had dropped at least one dog. A total of 13 dogs have been reported as dropped since Martin Buser arrived first Friday night.

Reporter Kevin Klott contributed.



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