Injury Risk Factors Associated with Training and Competition in Flyball Dogs

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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 frequency of injury within the sport has been investigated, evidence gaps remain regarding cause. The aim of this study was therefore to identify risk factors for injury within the sport, with a view to improving competitor safety. An online questionnaire was used 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 conformation and performance was collected for 581 dogs, with the same data plus information relating to injury collected from an additional 75 injured dogs. Data were then compared using univariable, multivariable and multinomial logistic regression.
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 during their career 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTopics in Companion Animal Medicine
Early online date10 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • canine injury
  • canine sports medicine
  • flyball
  • injury risk
  • questionnaire


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