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Hey agility folk! If you have/had an agility dog who has ever experienced any type of toe problem then you are probably eligible to participate in this research study.


The study is designed to 1) identify potential risk factors for injuries, and 2) analyze the return to athletic performance of dogs who had one or more toes amputated for any reason. The goal of this research is to provide agility enthusiasts with information about common toe problems in the sport and to provide veterinarians (and dog owners!) with information to assist with decision-making in amputation situations.


Your dog will not be examined if you participate. All agility dogs are eligible, regardless of whether the injury/problem occurred during agility or whether the dog returned to agility after recovery. All types of toe problems (injury, disease, infection, tumor, etc.) are eligible.


For additional information you can visit the webpage here: Clinical Studies at the College of Veterinary Medicine


If your dog is eligible, the online survey can be found here: Agility Dog Toe Problem Survey. The questionnaire takes approximately 3-5 minutes to complete for dogs who were not treated with an amputation, and 15 minutes to complete for dogs who had one or more toes amputated.


Feel free to pass this information along to your contacts and let me know if you have any questions (by posting here, PM, or via email at kmartucci@vetmed.wsu.edu). And for good measure, here's a recent picture of Dazzle (who is still competing and doing well, although she is nearly deaf now) for those who remember her. B)





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Control group?


What is the value of such a survey if it only selects dogs that have had the problem under consideration?


How can anyone possibly know how common a condition may be if may be if the sample group only studies affected dogs?


And if only agility dogs are involved, how can any risk factors attributable to agility be assessed?

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They're not looking at if agility causes these problems, they're looking at what type of dogs or training within agility is associated with toe problems.


Agree with you completely about the control group though. It would be more useful if they had similar questions for those with agility dogs who are similar to the ones they look at but with no toe problems.

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Keep in mind that the above message is merely recruiting agility dogs; it is not a comprehensive discussion of the study’s design and analysis (and neither is this message!).

You are correct – we are limited in how we can interpret some of the data we are collecting. However, the initial and still primary focus of this project is return to athletic performance after digit amputation in agility dogs, for which each dog serves as their own control. The amputation aspect of the study is far more extensive: we are collecting performance and veterinary records from these dogs in addition to the owner survey. The entire survey is 30 pages with over 100 questions; agility dogs with non-agility related problems that were NOT treated with amputation will only complete 3 of those pages.

We opened the survey to owners of agility dogs with any type of toe problem to collect data characterizing all digital problems in agility dogs, which is valuable information for both agility competitors and veterinarians. Beyond the characterization of problems, we also hope to identify potential risk factors for agility-related injuries related to equipment and performance variations. The present study is designed as pilot research in this area (i.e., this study is limited in funding, time-frame, and scope but will significantly help focus future research efforts). As simba noted, this study does not intend to compare agility dogs to non-agility dogs, although if desired we can easily collect those controls from veterinary records in a retrospective manner.


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