Frequency of injuries and orthopaedic conditions sustained by flyball dogs.

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The risk of injury to canine flyball competitors has been noted as similar to that reported for canine agility, affecting approximately one third of competitors throughout their careers. To date, no studies have examined whether elements such as consistently turning in one direction during the box turn are associated with specific types of injuries. The aims of this study were to describe the frequency and types of injuries experienced by flyball dogs and to evaluate variables that may affect injury occurrence at specific anatomical sites which may give insight into potential ways of reducing injury risk.
An online questionnaire, sent to owners, was used to obtain data on 75 dogs that had sustained an injury whilst training or competing in flyball in the last five years.
Among the 75 dogs, the most common location was the shoulder region (n=17;16.8% of injured dogs), followed by the back and trunk (n=16; 15.8%). Back injuries had the highest recorded number of repeat injuries n=66 (24.63%), and when all individual injuries were considered, 44.40% (n=119) of them occurred on the forelimbs. The most common type of injury was inflammation to soft tissue.
There was a statistically significant association between the direction the dog turns at the box and the side of occurrence of injuries at the shoulder (X2(2)= 13.71, p=0.0242), with injuries most likely to occur to the limb on the inside of the turn (left turn = left shoulder). For hip injuries, there was also an association with the most affected side and the side of the box turn (X2(2)= 6.702, p=0.035), with injuries most likely to occur on the limb at the outside of the turn (left turn = right hip). These findings identify new risk factors for injury within flyball which can be used to improve welfare and safety for competitors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-96
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Exercise Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2023


  • Canine injury
  • Flyball
  • Canine Sports
  • Questionnaire
  • Injury risk


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