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Athletic Dog Education Program

The Athletic Dog Education Program is designed as an educational tool to introduce veterinary students and graduate veterinarians to the field of Veterinary Sports Medicine. It also has the benefit of producing research information on the health benefits of long term active dogs. The program’s educational module has attracted and reached students and practitioners from all over the United States, Canada, and abroad. The program has proven to be a valuable tool for educating the veterinary community about canine sports medicine.

There are five levels (listed below) of the program education module. Each level is designed to expose and/or teach canine sports medicine according to the educational stage of the individual. The different levels are progressively more advanced and intense in teaching and hands on experience. For example, a senior student will be required to conduct a full field exam on a canine athlete, whereas a sophomore student may observe a field exam being conducted. The students must first be exposed to concepts in canine sports medicine, then progress into applying their knowledge and skills.

The five educational levels are as follows:

Level 1: Student Sports Medicine Chapter  

Veterinary Students may participate in the Student Sports Medicine Chapter. The Student Chapter President is Dax Hinton; to get more information or to become involved with the student chapter, please contact him at wdh0002@auburn.edu.


Level 2: Sports Medicine Classes

Veterinary Students may elect to enroll in Sports Medicine Classes. The classes are Advanced Science of Canine and Equine Locomotion (VBMS 7240) and Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation (VMED 5650). 

 The Advanced Science of Canine and Equine Locomotion class is a three hour graduate level course.  Students must have at least attained a BA or BS in Biological or Animal Science Curriculum. This course is progressively more advanced in academic content than an undergraduate course.  Attendees will learn about the science of biomechanics, muscle physiology, and how these apply to locomotion of the athletic and working dog and horse.

The goal of the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation course is to introduce the student to the fundamental methodologies utilized by the Sports Medicine Veterinary Clinician. It will take an applied approach to teaching the diagnostic techniques, therapies, and treatments that are peculiar to the athletic and working dog and horse.  This is a pass/fail one hour course.


Level 3: Senior Student Rotations

Senior Vet Students may select to take the Sports Medicine rotation. During the rotation, they will be exposed and introduced to the basic concepts of veterinary sports medicine and rehabilitation.


Level 4: Resident and future Board of Veterinary Sports Medicine Certification Program


Level 5: Practitioner Sabbaticals

During the sabbaticals, practitioners are taught to refine their veterinary knowledge and skills and apply them to the canine athlete. Practitioners learn how to better diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate athletic injuries and illnesses. They also learn how to optimize performance, design conditioning programs, develop nutritional programs, assess kennel and field management, to prevent injuries and illnesses, and much more. Practitioners can evaluate and monitor the dogs in the kennel and during transportation to simulated athletic events (e.g. lure coursing). They learn how to assess athletic dogs in the field without clinical diagnostic tools, such as radiographs. They conduct different tests such as TPR, EKG, blood analysis, and high speed video analysis at special times throughout the simulated athletic events. This allows them to understand the psychological, physiological, and structural demands placed on the dogs during athletic activities. The experience gained from the Athletic Dog Education Program better prepares practitioners for clinical and field sports medicine practice.

© 2009 Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine