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Specialisation for fast locomotion: performance, cost and risk

Hercock, Carol Ann (2010) Specialisation for fast locomotion: performance, cost and risk. Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

The racing Greyhound presents us with an opportunity to study the characteristics of a successful athlete and the costs and risks such specialisation entails. This thesis investigates the nature of the injuries suffered by racing Greyhounds and how adaptation of the musculoskeletal system to the unique pattern of stresses encountered during racing and training might impact upon the risk of injury. Racing Greyhounds sustain a number of musculoskeletal injuries. Several of these, notably fatigue fractures of distal limb bones, are very similar to those seen in human athletes and military recruits (Armstrong et al. 2004; Beck et al. 2000; Brukner et al. 1996; Kowal 1980; Matheson et al. 1987). The most common, often leading to the dog being euthanatised, is fracture of the right tarsus. Evaluation of tarsal fractures via radiography alone frequently resulted in an underestimation of the severity of the injuries, whereas the use of computed tomography provided a more detailed, accurate assessment. Evidence of asymmetric bone remodelling was found in the distal limb bones of racing Greyhounds. Rail‐side bones had significantly higher bone density and increased levels of bone resorption and formation markers compared to contralateral bones. Greyhound bones also have regional differences in trabecular architecture. In contrast, Staffordshire Bull Terrier (SBT) bones did not show these differences. Additionally, Greyhound distal limb tendons appear well adapted to withstand the high stresses of racing; they are stronger, stiffer, and in the pelvic limbs, return more elastic strain energy than the corresponding SBT tendons. Greyhounds had left‐to‐right asymmetries in the tensile properties of their pelvic limb tendons, which SBTs did not. SBTs are not bred for racing and are unlikely to encounter asymmetric stresses. Therefore, the adaptive changes observed in the Greyhound bones and tendons appear to result from the asymmetric stresses encountered by the Greyhounds during racing around ovoid tracks.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects:S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Veterinary Science > Department of Veterinary Preclinical Science
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:3453
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 11:05
Last Modified:20 Feb 2012 10:59

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