Quarterly Newsletter

2013 - IVG Newsletter First Quarter

The IVG Hospitals Quarterly Veterinary Newsletter features articles of interest to the veterinary medical community, written by veterinarians and veterinary specialists at our four locations.

Issue link: http://ivghospitals.uberflip.com/i/111065

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Injury Prevention and the Canine Athlete Amie Lamoreaux Hesbach, MSPT, CCRP, CCRT THE NUMBER OF DOGS AND OWNERS INVOLVED in canine sports in the United States has grown exponentially in recent years. The American Kennel Club reports that in 2011 alone, there were one million entries for agility trials and 22,000 athletic events1. Amie Lamoreaux Hesbach, MSPT, CCRP, CCRT practices at Massachusetts Veterinary Referral Hospital in Woburn, MA. For the purposes of this review, the canine athlete is considered to be a dog that "works" (in herding, hunting, sledding, Search and Rescue, assistance, law enforcement, etc.), or one that "plays" (in agility, track racing, Rally, freestyle, obedience, flyball, dock diving, Frisbee, field trial, etc.). appropriate given your pet's breed or age? Are they appropriate given the time, energy, and money that you are able or willing to invest in training and veterinary care4? Unfortunately, more dogs involved in "work" or "play" with more entries and trials, and longer careers, means there are also more injuries. A survey of agility handlers in the United Kingdom in 2005 reported a 19% injury rate either during training or competition2. These injuries were due to direct contact with obstacles, turning, twisting or jumping, or slipping or falling on the surface of the agility ring. Injuries were predominantly of soft tissues (muscle or tendon strains or ligament sprains) and related to the back or shoulder joints, though "non-specific lameness" accounted for 48% of reported injuries2, 3. Another survey reported lameness in gundogs at a rate of 25% per season, with a higher rate of tail and shoulder injuries3. • The veterinary medical evaluation of the canine athlete • Training, cross-training, overtraining, and rest • Warm-up and cool-down • Stretching and the role of flexibility in injury prevention • Additional suggestions for injury prevention Ensuring that a dog has a healthy career in his owner's chosen sport goes beyond an unremarkable annual veterinary exam. It starts with the puppy's first visit, when the owner might first suggest an interest in a given sport. As injury rates increase, so do the costs of competition and veterinary medical care. Not only might a canine athlete's career be limited by an injury, but his lifespan and quality of life in "retirement" might also be limited. Experiencing this first hand, owners of working (and playing) dogs ask the question: How can we reduce the risk of injury in the canine athlete? As well, we should ask the owner: Are your expectations for your pet's performance in his sport appropriate? Are they Prior to initiating serious training in a sport, a puppy should not only have a thorough veterinary exam, but also an eye examination and elbow and hip radiographs5. The veterinarian should determine that the dog is skeletally mature (with growth plate closure) prior to advising that the owner initiate any conditioning or training program with impact, repetition, or forced exercise5, 6. Experts suggest that this delay continue until at least ten months of age and extend to nearly 18 months of age in any |1| This article will explore these questions through review of the following pertinent topics: THE VETERINARY MEDICAL EVALUATION OF THE CANINE ATHLETE

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