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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dog neutered or spayed at, or younger than, six months of age6. To reduce risk of injury to growth plates, enthusiastic owners of skeletally-immature puppies might consider limiting early training to low-impact, ground-level activities with recalls, low obstacles and jumps, and with minimal activity repetition6. In subsequent visits, the veterinarian might pro-actively suggest a pre-season evaluation for the athletic dog, not dissimilar to that of a high school or collegiate athlete's "physical", asserting a clean bill of health prior to competition7. A thorough musculoskeletal assessment will check that the athlete's body is symmetrical in static postures and that it has adequate strength and motor control in dynamic movements to tolerate the demands of the sport. The balance of muscle flexibility (or length) and strength has been shown to reduce the risk of muscle strain injury in human and animal athletes 8. Additionally at this visit, the veterinarian can assess for any deficits in range of motion, flexibility, or muscle development and objectively document baseline data. The veterinarian might suggest that the owner share a video of the dog at a recent trial or training session, so that she might have a deeper appreciation of the dog's level of competition and fitness. Alternatively, a physical therapist with canine rehabilitation certification and experience in sports medicine might complete this assessment. This pre-season meeting also encourages an open conversation with the owner, who is and will continue to be the expert regarding this dog and his sport, and who might vocalize concern regarding the dog's performance in training or competition. Such concerns, which should neither be overlooked nor dismissed as inconsequential, might include the following: "He's 'popping out of weaves'." "She knocks down bars when jumping." "He can't run a straight line when tracking the bird." "She hesitates when coming out of the cruiser after riding for a few hours." "He consistently misses contacts when coming off the A-frame." TRAINING, CROSS-TRAINING, OVER-TRAINING, AND REST Training is essential for adaptation of the dog's body to the demands of the sport and the first step by which we can avoid injury. Training activities should focus on enhancing the athlete's cardiorespiratory function, muscle strength, motor control, endurance, flexibility, and coordination5. Though it seems obvious, what happens outside the performance ring (and prior to the athlete's arrival to the ring) can be more important in reducing the risk of injury to the athlete, than what happens inside the ring. Consideration of the SAID principle, in that the body undergoes "Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands" during training activities, requires owners to focus training regimens on the requirements of the specific sport and based on the individual athlete's needs and expectations4,5. For example, training activities for a sprinting athlete will be very different from those of an endurance athlete5. Cross-training activities, such as hiking or swimming, are important to help the owner and athlete avoid over-training, stress, and boredom. These activities should be complementary to more sport-specific training activities and benefit the |2|

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