Frequency and Types of Injuries Experienced By Dogs Competing in Agility Competitions

Pechette Markley1, A. Shoben 2, NR. Kieves3

1 The Ohio State University Veterinary Medical Center, Columbus, Ohio

2 Division of Biostatistics, The Ohio State University College of Public Health, Columbus, Ohio

3 Department of Clinical Sciences, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Columbus, Ohio

Agility competitions have evolved to be more challenging, placing increased physical demand on canine athletes. Previous surveys assessing injury were conducted over 10 years ago. Our aim was to describe the frequency and type of injuries experienced by agility dogs, and to determine if there are breed differences in injuries experienced. We hypothesized that the prevalence of injury would be higher than previously reported, and that injuries to the shoulder and iliopsoas would be most common. An internet-based survey was utilized. Participants were asked if their dog had ever had an injury that kept it from participating in agility for over a week and to identify all locations injured. Frequency and types of injuries were reported using descriptive statistics. Differences in type and frequency of injury by breed were compared using chi-square tests or Fisher’s exact test. The survey was completed by 4,197 individuals, providing data on 4,701 dogs. The most common breed was the Border Collie (22.5%). Injury was reported in 1,958 (41.7%) dogs. The most common injury location was the shoulder (30.1%), followed by iliopsoas (19.4%). The percentage of Border Collies who sustained an injury (51.9%) was significantly higher than other breeds. The frequency of shoulder injuries was substantially higher than injuries at other anatomic locations, and was higher than previously reported. These data provide valuable current insight into the most commonly reported injuries in agility dogs, and may help guide clinical evaluations and diagnostics when agility dogs are seen in clinical practice with performance issues or lameness.