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The Canine Athlete--An Upcoming Conference

The two day conference highlights special needs of sporting dogs

(Knoxville, TN.  July 30, 2014) Competing with your dog in events such as lure coursing, dock diving and protection sports can be an enjoyable pastime.  Being able to recognize medical issues early can sometimes make a difference between continuing the sport and retirement.  Dr. Darryl Mills, board-certified surgeon and specialist in Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center chatted with WBIR about an upcoming conference, The Canine Athlete,  designed for dog owners, handlers, trainers, police officers, veterinarians and veterinary technicians. Click here to watch the interview.

            Darryl Millis, orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine and rehabilitation expert at the university of tennessee college of veterinary medicine talks about the canine athlete and the CARES Center 

Dr. Millis oversees the CARES Center (Canine Arthritis, Rehabilitation, Exercise, and Sports Medicine) at the veterinary medical center.  The center's personnel consider all dogs sporting animals and believe all dogs should have the opportunity to reach their peak potential whether they are backyard pets recovering from injury or surgery or a world champion agility dog. 

What is the CARES Center? The CARES Center is the Canine Arthritis, Rehabilitation, Exercise, and Sports Medicine Center at the UT Veterinary Medical Center. We believe all companion animals should have the opportunity to reach their peak performance.


What is the purpose of the conference?  The purpose of the conference is two-fold.  First, we want to educate people on the various canine sporting events.  Every year we focus on 3 events.  This year we are highlighting Dog Protection sports (Schutzhund, IPO, Police dogs, etc.), Lure coursing, and Dock Diving (popular here in East Tennessee).


Who should attend the conference? The first portion of the program would benefit veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and dog owners who want to learn about the sport, training, rules of competition, jargon, and common injuries. The second day will focus on health care of sporting dogs.  This year's topics include behavior issues in sporting dogs, gait evaluation, exercise physiology of the canine athlete, and arthritis recognition, treatment, and prevention.  The focus of this is to help dog owners better understand their dog and identify health issues earlier to keep them performing at their peak level.


Why is it important that an owner of a canine athlete be able to identify problems early? The earlier we identify a problem, the better we can treat it and perhaps prevent irreparable damage. If we wait until a dog is so arthritic he can barely get up before we begin treating the issue, the outcome won't be as favorable for the dog. We can still treat it, but we are able to help a lot more and keep the cartilage from further deterioration, maintain joint health and keep the muscles supporting the joints stronger if we catch it early.

The conference is for dog owners, handlers, trainers, veterinarians, technicians anyone who has an interest in sporting dogs. Who are some of the top dogs leading the conference? This is an excellent opportunity for people to be at the conference and learn from experts--many of the presenters have a presence on the national level.  Jerry Bradshaw is training director and president of Tarheel Canine Training and travels extensively giving seminars at national police K9 conferences and the US Military. The President of Smoky Mountain DockDogs, Lisa Hudgens who has competed in world championships as well as Leslie Wereszczak, an active competitor in dock diving and a veterinary technician who has spoken at national veterinary conferences and has a special interest in trauma, are both speaking. Dr. Thom Haig, a veterinarian who is very active in the American Sight Hound Field Association and has been elected to vice-president will present.  Dr. Julie Albright, the PetSafe Chair in Small Animal Clinical Behavior Research at UTCVM, will talk about behavior issues in sporting dogs. Drs. David Levine and Beate Egner will discuss the responses of dogs to exercise and training. Levine is the Cline Chair of Excellence and UT Foundations Professor of Physical Therapy at UT-Chattanooga. Beate, from Germany, is an international expert on cardiovascular blood pressure issues in dogs. Dr. Marti Drum has experiences with physical rehabilitation in multiple species with special interest in osteoarthritis. I will talk about gait evaluation of dogs. The conference has something for everyone.

When and where is The Canine Athlete Conference?

What: The Canine Athlete Conference

Date: Sat-Sun, August 16-17

Where: UT College of Veterinary Medicine, 2407 River Drive, Knoxville, TN. 37996

Cost: $85 per day or $150 for both days

For additional info: 


 The conference is also available via webcast or on-demand. Click here for information.



Posted: 07-30-14 Viewed: 86340 times

Media Relations

Sandra Harbison
College of Veterinary Medicine
University of Tennessee
2407 River Drive
Knoxville, TN 37996

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