A Retrospective Survey of Injuries Occurring in Dogs and Handlers Participating in Canicross

Vet Comp Orthop Traumatol. 2018 Sep;31(5):332-338. doi: 10.1055/s-0038-1661390. Epub 2018 Aug 23.


Objectives: Canicross is a popular canine and human cross-country sport. The purpose of this study was to identify the most common injuries, their severity, risk factors and the recovery.

Methods: An internet-based retrospective survey design was used to examine the characteristics of injuries, demographic and competition information and associations with injury rate.

Results: A total of 160 surveys were received and indicated that at the time of the survey 21.9% of dogs (35/160) had experienced at least one injury. Lacerations, abrasions and punctures were the most common injury type (22/49), most frequently occurring in the footpads of the forelimb (13/16). The majority of dogs (38/49) recovered from their injuries. Sixty-nine out of 147 of the human handlers experienced injuries while competing; ankle injuries (25/69) and bruises, cuts and grazes (20/69) were the most common injuries. Risk factors for injuries were being a purebred Labrador, dogs running with another dog and additionally competing in agility.

Conclusions: Labradors, dogs running with another dog and dogs also participating in agility competitions were at higher risk for injury. Injuries of the footpads of the forelimb were the most common injuries in dogs. Most dogs had a complete recovery from their injuries.

Clinical significance: This is the first study that gives us insight into injuries occurring in dogs and handlers competing in canicross. This will help making recommendations for this sport as well as enable veterinarians to understand the risks and injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Dogs / injuries*
  • Female
  • Foot Injuries / epidemiology
  • Foot Injuries / etiology
  • Foot Injuries / veterinary
  • Humans
  • Lacerations / epidemiology
  • Lacerations / etiology
  • Lacerations / veterinary
  • Leg Injuries / epidemiology
  • Leg Injuries / etiology
  • Leg Injuries / veterinary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*
  • Wounds, Penetrating / epidemiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / etiology
  • Wounds, Penetrating / veterinary
  • Young Adult