Saturday, October 12, 2013

Agility Injury Study

The most recent issue of JAVMA (Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association) included a study on agility related injuries.  This was a retrospective study based on internet surveys filled out by owner/handlers.  Some of you may have participated.  Evidently I did as I got an email telling me the findings had been published.

Anyway, retrospective studies have a lot of pitfalls in their usefulness and interpretation (don't get me started on some of the conclusions being drawn from recent studies that are currently being spouted as gospel truth), but I still thought it was interesting and will share some highlights.

  • Of 3800 dogs 32% were reported to have had some kind of agility related injury
This was a voluntary survey so it's possible that handlers who have had an injured dog might be more likely to respond.  
  • Of 1523 injuries 349 were in the shoulder, 282 in the back, 189 in the neck and 202 in the phalanges (toes)
  • 807 were considered strains (muscle or tendon), 312 sprains (ligament) and 200 contusions (bruise)
Of note, not all pets were seen by a vet and certainly not all were seen by specialists so some of these injuries were only perceived to be in the above locations and this does not account for any misdiagnosis.

  • Of 1602 injuries ( not sure why this number is different) 260 were associated with bar jumps, 235 with A-frames, and 177 with dogwalks
Again, these are the perceived obstacles where the injury occurred.  It's possible that the obstacles exacerbated an already existing or sub-clinical problem.

  • Border collies were at increased risk
But, border collies are also over represented in agility.

  • Dogs with warm-up and/or cool down routines did not seem to be any more or less at risk than those who had no such routines.
  • Dogs who received alternative treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy seemed at greater risk for injury.
This seems counter intuitive but it's very likely that dogs started these therapies after being injured and owners of sound dogs did not pursue these avenues.  

So, for what it's worth, those were the highlights for anyone interested.  


Sue said...

Interesting. I would expect to see lots of leg injuries but I guess I'd be wrong.

Breanna said...

Good to know! The shoulder injuries doesn't surprise me, between slaloming the weaves and slamming into a 2o2o position the shoulder takes the brunt :(