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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Part II of Finnish Agility Dog Survey: Agility-Related Injuries and Risk Factors for Injury in Competition-Level Agility Dogs

Inkila, Leena; Hyytiainen, Heli K.; Hielm-Bjoerkman, Anna; Junnila, Jouni; Bergh, Anna; Bostrom, Anna


Simple Summary Agility dogs can get injured during sports performance. Only a few factors have been linked to risk for injury. Through an online questionnaire, information was collected of more than 860 Finnish competition-level agility dogs. Of these dogs, 119 (14%) had suffered an injury in agility during calendar year 2019. Front limbs were most commonly injured. Typically, the injury presented as lameness. In general, dogs regained their performance level in four weeks, but 10% of injured dogs retired from the sport due to the injury. Dogs with multiple previous agility-related injuries or a diagnosis of lumbosacral transitional vertebra had higher odds of getting injured. Other common factors among the injured dogs included older age when starting course-like training and more than two agility-training sessions a week. A moderate number of monthly competition runs and an A-frame performance technique had lower odds of injury. This study identified new risk factors for injury in agility. This information can be used to improve the welfare of agility dogs. Dog agility is associated with a risk for sport-related injuries, but few risk factors for injury are known. A retrospective online questionnaire was used to collect data on 864 Finnish competition-level agility dogs-including 119 dogs (14%) with agility-related injury during 2019. Data included injury details, health background, experience in agility, and sport and management routines prior to the injury. Risk factors for injury were evaluated with multivariate logistic regression. The rate of competition-related injuries was 1.44 injuries/1000 competition runs. The front limb was injured in 61% of dogs. In 65% of dogs, the injury presented as lameness. The main risk factors for agility-related injury during 2019 were multiple previous agility-related injuries (OR 11.36; 95% CI 6.10-21.13), older age when starting course-like training (OR 2.04 per one year increase; 95% CI 1.36-3.05), high training frequency, diagnosis of lumbosacral transitional vertebra, and physiotherapy every two to three months compared with never. The most important protective factors were moderate competition frequency and A-frame performance technique. These associations do not confirm causality. We identified new risk factors for injury in agility. This information can be used to improve the welfare of agility dogs.


dog agility; canine sports medicine; agility-related injury; sport-related injury; injury risk; agility training; risk factor; lumbosacral transitional vertebrae

Published in

2022, Volume: 12, number: 3, article number: 227
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Clinical Science

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