Injury Risk factors associated with training and competition in flyball dogs

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


Flyball is a fast-paced, high-energy canine sport which has received negative press regarding the potential for injury, and possible welfare implications for canine competitors. Whilst risk of injury associated with the sport has been investigated, evidence gaps still remain. An online questionnaire was distributed to over 3,000 members of the British Flyball Association in the UK, to obtain data on dogs that had competed in flyball in the last five years but remained injury free, and a second questionnaire obtained data on dogs that had also competed within the last five years but sustained an injury. Data relating to a dogs conformation such as height and weight as well as performance such as course completion time and equipment used was collected for 581 dogs, with the same data plus information relating to location and type of injury collected from an additional 75 injured dogs. Data were then compared using univariable, multivariable and multinomial logistic regression. The most common injuries were to the muscles of the shoulder back, whilst dogs completing a flyball course in less than four seconds had the highest level of injury risk (P=0.029), which reduced as time taken increased. There was an association between risk of injury and increasing age, with dogs over 10 years old most likely to be injured when partaking in the sport (P=0.004). Furthermore, dogs using an angle of flyball box of between 45 and 55° had a greater risk of injury, while using an angle between 66 and 75° reduced the risk of injury by 67.2% (OR: 0.328). Use of carpal bandaging was significantly associated with carpal injuries (P=0.042). These findings identify new risk factors for injury within flyball which can be used to improve welfare and safety for competitors.
PeriodAug 2023
Event title9th International Conference on Canine and Equine Locomotion
Event typeConference
LocationUtrecht, NetherlandsShow on map