Dogs in Iditarod race test positive for drugs

Team tested six hours after finishing race

A view of the Iditarod Trail Race at Rainy Pass in Alaska.
A view of the Iditarod Trail Race at Rainy Pass in Alaska. (Ezra O. Shaw/Allsport via Getty Images)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Several dogs from the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race tested positive for the opioid pain reliever Tramadol, race officials said, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Iditarod officials said this is the first time a dog has tested positive for a prohibited substance.

Race officials haven't named the musher involved. Iditarod spokesman Chas St. George said the name isn't being released based on attorney's advice. In an email, St. George said the name is being withheld because of the unlikelihood that race organizers could prove the musher intentionally administered the drug, the AP report said.

Officials said the test happened six hours after the completion of the race in Nome in March. They said the drug could have been given to the dogs up to 15 hours before the test.

Aaron Burmeister, an Idiatrod board member and musher, told the AP he doesn't know who the musher is and that only the top 20 teams to reach Nome are tested.

Testing for prohibited drugs started in 1994, and dogs on all teams are subject to random testing.

The annual sled dog race starts in early March and covers nearly 1,000 miles of Alaskan terrain before finishing in Nome.