Sled Dogs Test Positive for Performance-Enhancing Drugs

Posted by Krissy Howard

Several dogs on an Iditarod racing team were found to have pain-relieving drugs in their system upon completing a 1,000-mile journey. 

For the first time in the history of the Iditarod - a long-distance sled dog race which takes place in Alaska - several sled dogs have tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, according to an Associated Press report.

According to protocol, the first twenty teams to finish are tested within six hours of completing the nearly 1,000-mile journey.

Several dogs from one team were found to have the drug Tramadol in their system. The substance, one of several to be prohibited by the organization, is an opioid used to treat and manage pain symptoms.

Forced to climb rough terrain in sub-zero temperatures through blizzards and snow for hours on end and usually for over one or two weeks straight, physical pain is something sled dogs are exposed to for the sake of the race.

The test indicates that the canines who tested positive may have been administered the pain reliever up to 15 hours before the test was given, possibly allowing them to power through the last legs of the race.


While this makes for the first positive result since testing began in 1994, large cash prizes, awards, and sponsorships are believed to provide enough incentive for some to cheat.

At this time, the musher responsible has not yet been named.

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Sled Dogs Test Positive for Performance-Enhancing Drugs