Though the Iditarod Trail Committee and mushers claim that no death statistics are available for the early years of the Iditarod race, I was able to search through old newspapers (through paid subscription by my college) and retrieve the following statistics. This raises the overall, lifetime death toll considerably, which the ITC would very much like to be kept secret:
In the 1974 Iditarod - At least 15 of 500 dogs died
. This was out of 10-13 dog teams. Most deaths due to pneumonia-related illnesses, according to the five volunteer veterinarians.
...in 1985 alone, 12 dogs died of heart failure, exhaustion, or hypothermia
Also in 1985 - Two dog deaths by moose, one by musher killing dog after it bit him
1982 pre-race meeting: As many as 30 dogs died in the early years
For citations, visit the Latest Updates
section of my website and scroll down to Coverage of Older, Historically Archived Iditarods