Objectives: Little is known about the risks of injury to dogs participating in the relatively new sport of canine agility. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that put the participating dog at risk as well as determine the anatomical sites that were most commonly injured.
Methods: A retrospective survey using a paper and web-based data collection instrument was used to evaluate dogs participating in the sport of canine agility.
Results: Of the 1627 dogs included in the study, 33% were injured, and of those 58% were injured in competition. Most injuries occurred on dry outdoor surfaces. Border Collies were the most commonly injured, and injuries were in excess of what would be expected from their exposure. For all dogs, soft tissue injuries were most common. The shoulders and backs of dogs were most commonly injured. Dogs were most commonly injured by contact with an obstacle. The A-frame, dogwalk and bar jump obstacles were responsible for nearly two-thirds of injuries that resulted from contact with the obstacle.
Conclusions: Border Collies are at higher risk for injury than would be expected from their exposure. The A-frame, dogwalk and bar jump obstacles put the shoulders and backs of dogs at risk.
Clinical relevance: For the first time, this study gives us insight into injuries occurring in dogs participating in canine agility. This will help direct prospective studies that evaluate the safety of individual obstacles, direct rule changes and enable practitioners to understand the risks of the sport.