I am regularly asked for research on the risks of injuries from various types of dog equipment such as prong collars or restrictive harnesses. While we hear anecdotal stories about injuries caused by various collars (prong, e-collar, choke, flat), harnesses, and head halters, we currently lack scientific studies looking at the incidence rates of these injuries. Some of the injuries veterinarians have reported include: puncture wounds, burns, skin irritation, collapsed trachea, laryngeal paralysis, embedded collar or harness, neck injuries, disc injuries, cervical subluxation, and bicipital tenosynovitis. Information of the incidence rates of these injuries could lead to safer choices for dogs. Many members of the general public are interested in this information to help them make informed decisions.
A study to estimate the incidence rates for these injuries would provide important information to the ongoing discussions on the safety of different types of dog gear. But because these injuries are rare events, such a study would need to include a very large number of dogs and the study will be a massive undertaking. When I started writing blog, I was only planning on writing a call to action in hopes that someone else would take on this project. But then I realized such a daunting task will not be started if we all pass the responsibility for the work onto “someone else”.
So I am currently gathering together veterinary professionals, scientists, and writers that are interested in helping design and implement this study to join our Facebook group Injuries from Dog Gear Study. Be sure to answer the screening questions. In this group, we are currently discussing how to best design and implement this study. Currently, we expect this study to follow in the footsteps of other citizen science dog studies including Darwin’s Dogs and C-BARQ. I will do another blog post once the study is designed and we are ready to recruit participants.